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Employee Who Fell Victim to Scam was Terminated with Just Cause

In the case of Pettry v. Ohio Dept. of Job & Family Servs., 2023-Ohio-4350, an appellate court held that under R.C. 4141.29, an employee who fell victim to a telephone scam was terminated for just cause and thus ineligible to receive unemployment benefits.

In this case, the employee argued that she was entitled to unemployment benefits after being terminated for falling for a telephone scam.  The employee argued the employer lacked just cause because in response to a scam phone call, the employee did not believe she was activating gift cards, but that she was reversing transactions as the scammer spoke with urgency. In response, the employer argued that the company had a policy to never process prepaid cards without the customer present, the employee was trained on this policy, and the phones in the store also had stickers to remind of this policy. Because the employee violated this policy, the termination of employment was just. The appellate court agreed with the employer.

In support of its decision in favor of the employer, the appellate court explained that testimony revealed that the employer had a policy that prohibited transactions with prepaid cards without a customer being present. The appellate court further explained that because the employee was trained on this policy, even though she fell victim to the scam, the employee’s discharge was not unlawful, unreasonable, or against the manifest weight of the evidence, so the lower court was correct to deny the employee benefits.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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