McGovern v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act
Three absences without good cause or notice within five consecutive days may qualify as "willful misconduct," pursuant to Connecticut State Agencies Regulation §31-236-26d. On Jan. 30, 2012, the plaintiff, a single father, was informed his child had caught "pink eye," and he left work to pick up his child at school. The plaintiff allegedly informed his boss that the plaintiff had caught "pink eye" and bronchitis. The plaintiff returned to work on February 6. His boss asked that he submit a doctor's note that explained his illness. The doctor wrote, "Pt (plaintiff) was out for 1/30-2/3/2012 for daughter's sickness." The doctor added that the plaintiff "may return to work on February 6, 2012." The sales manager, who believed that the plaintiff had been ill, asked the plaintiff to provide another doctor's note. The plaintiff did not comply, and he was discharged. The administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Act found that the plaintiff was not eligible for unemployment benefits. The appeals referee and the Employment Security Appeals Division Board of Review affirmed. The board wrote that the employer "acted reasonably in requesting documentation that the [plaintiff] was sick during the week and that he was cleared to return to work." The board found that the plaintiff "committed deliberate misconduct by failing to provide the medical documentation required." The plaintiff appealed. Willful misconduct is defined as willful disregard of the employer's interest, or a single, knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced rule or policy of the employer, when reasonably applied, provided that the violation is not a result of the employee's incompetence. The court found that the plaintiff was absent for five consecutive days, without good cause or adequate notice. Three absences without good cause or notice within five consecutive days can qualify as "willful misconduct," pursuant to Connecticut State Agencies Regulation §31-236-26d. The appeals referee's admission of hearsay evidence was not unreasonable or wrong. Evidence in the record supported the conclusion that the plaintiff was discharged for "willful misconduct." The board of review's decision was not arbitrary, illegal or an abuse of discretion. The court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal.