Court: Nursing home employee fired for foul language can't get unemployment compensation

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A nursing home housekeeper who was fired for using vulgar language can't receive unemployment compensation, a Pennsylvania court ruled last week.

Tyra W. Collins was employed by Healthcare Services, a healthcare staffing agency, and was contracted as a housekeeper at a nursing home. She had received a work suspension in 2013 for making sexual comments about a co-worker, and received a warning that she would be fired should it happen again.

Last year, a family member of one of the nursing home's residents overheard Collins call a co-worker a variety of less-than-appropriate names in one of the facility's hallways. She was reported to Healthcare Services, and fired in March 2014.

Because her firing was due to willful misconduct, Collins was ineligible for unemployment benefits after she was fired. Collins appealed that decision, claiming she was singled out by the company because “even the supervisors sometimes used profanity,” according to the court's ruling.

The state court upheld a previous court's decision on November 3, stating that Collins was ineligible for unemployment benefits because she violated the standards of “a professional and cooperative attitude” that Healthcare Services had a right to expect.