This week the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (“DUA”) issued its much anticipated decision of Hall v. Commonwealth Building Services, Docket No. 600073, in favor of Attorney Murphy’s client, Mr. Hall, who was fired despite having an excellent work record and highest level of commitment to his job as an office cleaner. The employer fired Mr. Hall, however, because Mr. Hall allegedly did not follow the company’s accounting and record keeping system. Given that Mr. Hall had difficulty understanding the employer’s system, Mr. Hall concentrated more on cleaning offices. The DUA originally denied Mr. Hall’s unemployment benefits because it appeared that Mr. Hall committed a knowing violation by intentionally failing to follow the employer’s workplace system. Attorney Murphy’s direct and cross-examination of the parties established, however, that the employer’s disciplinary actions were insufficient to deny Mr. Hall unemployment benefits. Accordingly, the DUA reversed its decision and concluded Mr. Hall did not intentionally violate the employer’s workplace policy or commit deliberate misconduct.
Attorney Murphy notes that this case is instructive for both employers and employees: if an employer cannot implement its own rules and procedures effectively, then how can it expect an employee to follow them?