What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Maryland
Hello - I was terminated the end of September for a DUI offense that occurred in the beginning of June. I notified my employer immediately of the offense. They requested to be updated on any court proceedings and I complied. I received 12 points on my driver's license as a result of the DUI conviction and was told that was the reason for my termination. I was not aware that could potentially be an issue or I would have asked the court to decrease my points during my hearing. My license remains valid. The Personal and Policy Manual states that a good driving record is needed for 'hire'. I am in alcohol treatment which I voluntarily enrolled myself in the week following my DUI. I have not missed any work as a result of this issue nor am I unable to continue to perform my work duties.
I received notification today that I have been denied unemployment benefits due to gross misconduct. Specifically, "The claimant's conduct was either a deliberate and willful disregard of the standards of behavior which the employer has a right to expect or a series of repeated violations of employment rules proving a wanton disregard of his/her obligation to the employer" My conduct was neither deliberate, intentional nor willful. I was under the influence of alcohol (again, off hours) and have been subsequently diagnosed with alcoholism - which in the state of Maryland is considered a disease. So my question is, how can I have deliberately and willfully violated employee standards when I was not in a rational frame of mind due to the effects of alcohol? All of my personnel evaluations have been outstanding up to this point. I was with the agency for eight and half years. This is my second DUI, the first of which was three years ago and did not result in a conviction (PBJ). I was not obligated to inform them about it (since it there was no conviction) but did anyway. At that time I did receive a letter to my home stating that further infractions could result in immediate disciplinary actions up to an including termination. However, I did not agree to those terms or sign off on them. I was simply sent a letter. I was not on any type of probation when this or that offense occurred, nor did the agency implement any provisions either time. Maryland is a 'fire at will' state, meaning they do not have to have a reason to terminate an employee, but since this was an alcohol related infraction, I am wondering if I have any leeway... probably not with getting my position back but at the very least obtaining unemployment benefits? BTW, this is evidence of the destruction alcohol can reap on one's life... I have remained alcohol free since the night of my DUI and continue to faithfully attend my treatment program. Thank you in advance for any advice that may be offered.