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Appeals court favors man who was fired for swearing

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — A man who was fired for insubordination is eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, even though he cursed when talking about his boss, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled.

The court ruled Tuesday that Douglas G. Williams was "not disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits because his conduct was a single incident that did not have a significant adverse impact on the employer."

Williams, 56, was washing cars at Brooklyn Center Motors in March 2006 when a lot manager told him the sales manager wanted him to clean up litter. Williams said he was busy and the sales manager could go "(expletive) himself," according to court documents. The lot manager reported the comments and the sales manager fired Williams for insubordination.

Williams’ unemployment claim was rejected so he went to the state Court of Appeals.

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"I realized it was an uphill fight," Williams said about the decision. "I am kind of speechless. This is great."

Attempts to reach company representatives were unsuccessful.

Lee Nelson, director of legal affairs for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said the appeals court overturns about 10 of 150 unemployment insurance cases annually.

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