Violation of Company’s Social Media Policy Did Not Disqualify Worker From Receiving Unemployment Benefits

A recent Third Department decision, In the Matter of Sullivan v. Brookville Center for Children’s Services, affirmed a decision to award unemployment benefits to an employee who was terminated due to alleged disqualifying conduct, namely, posting on using social media during work hours.

The court held:

The question of whether a claimant engaged in actions sufficient to disqualify him or her from receiving unemployment insurance benefits is a factual one for the Board to resolve, and its determination will not be disturbed if supported by substantial evidence. Not every discharge for cause rises to the level of misconduct, which is defined as “a willful and wanton disregard of the employer’s interest”. Claimant did not dispute that she was aware of the employer’s policy on social media usage and that she nevertheless posted an item during work hours. The record also reflects, however, that it was an isolated incident and that claimant had a clean disciplinary record prior to her termination. Substantial evidence thus supports the determination of the Board that claimant’s behavior, while reflective of a momentary lapse in judgment, did not rise to the level of disqualifying misconduct. (Emphasis added.)

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