What does “Gross Misconduct” Mean?

Although illegal or dangerous acts committed in the workplace are likely to qualify as gross misconduct, the acts need not be criminal or otherwise unlawful in nature. In some instances, even acts that occur away from the workplace have qualified as gross misconduct. A definition widely used by the courts goes something like this: Acts of gross misconduct are intentional, wanton, willful, deliberate, reckless, or in deliberate indifference to an employer’s interest. Often, acts that will prompt an employer to terminate an employee are those done in deliberate violation of the employer’s known standards. However, those acts may not constitute gross misconduct for COBRA purposes unless they go beyond simple negligence or incompetence.

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