Drive Drunk, Lose Your Job -- Keep Your Unemployment Pay

Supreme Court Rules
Download Audio
Audio Playlist
Supreme Court Rules
Should you be able to collect unemployment if lose your job because you were driving drunk?  WNPR's Jeff Cohen has this story from the Connecticut Supreme Court.
So let’s say you drive an oil delivery truck for a living. And while you’re off-duty, you get arrested for a DUI -- driving at twice the legal limit.  As a result, you lose your license and then your job.
And then you want to collect your unemployment benefits.  Is that allowed?
"What the supreme court says here is you can drink and drive, lose your job, and still collect unemployment."
That's Dan Schwartz, a partner at Pullman and Comley who also writes the Connecticut Employment Law Blog.
"And the court throws up its hands and says, 'We may not like the result, but it's not up to us to fix it.  It's up to the legislature to fix it.'"
In a preliminary ruling, a majority of the court said the law was on the side of the driver, for a host of technical reasons. Some on the court dissented.  Schwartz says he could understand an employer's frustration with the ruling. 
"What more was the employer to do in this situation?  You know, the employee couldn't work anymore because they didn't have their driver's license.  Why are we holding the employer responsible in this situation?  That can't be what the legislature intended."
The case was called Tuxis Ohr's Fuel, Inc. versus Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act.  Schwartz says it's the kind of case that could easily prompt lawmakers to push for a legislative fix. 
For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.