When a company fired this cashier for discussing sexual exploits in front of customers, denying her unemployment compensation (UC) claims seemed like a slam dunk. Then the case took a strange twist.
Here’s what happened: A cashier at the Last Chance Market in Iowa was allegedly fired after she was reported for discussing a number of sexual activities with a customer in front of a number of other store patrons.
Following her termination, the lewd cashier filed for UC benefits from her former employer. Since it’s generally OK for companies to deny UC benefits if the person filing for those benefits was fired for “willful misconduct,” Last Chance shot down the former worker’s UC claim.
And this is where the story took an interesting twist.
‘Dirty jokes on your shelves, basically’
Last Chance wasn’t expecting to find itself on the hot seat when it tried to block the cashier’s UC benefits … but that’s exactly what happened.
During the hearing, not only did the former cashier deny having sexually explicit conversations in front of customers, she also said profanity and off-color humor were an everyday part of Last Chance’s work environment.
As evidence, she brought in photos of store products that were labeled with blue language and descriptions of women’s anatomy.
As the former employee put it:
“There’s jelly beans, salsa, hot sauces and all kinds of different things about women’s (bodies). There’s a whole shelf referring to — well, excuse me — but there’s one can called ‘The Hottest —-ing Nuts.’”
She added that there was a coffee brand called “Wake The F%$! Up.”
A judge sided with the former employee and said of Last Chance’s explicit items: “they are dirty jokes on your shelves, basically.”
Not only was she awarded UC benefits, the judge also chastised the company for not warning the employee about performance problems before terminating her.
This post originally appeared on our sister website, HR Benefits Alert.