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DC 400.1 Alcoholism

Click on the case numbers below to access discharge cases, where a claimant’s alcoholism is asserted as a mitigating factor in deciding eligibility for unemployment benefits.

0011 0254 86

0011 0254 86 (Sept. 29, 2014) – The evidence showed that, when the claimant tested positive for alcohol in violation of her last chance agreement, she had been making a sincere effort to control her alcoholism, but was unable to maintain her sobriety.  Accordingly, notwithstanding the last chance agreement, the claimant’s alcoholism mitigated the wilfulness of her misconduct within the meaning of the Supreme Judicial Court’s Shepherd decision.  


BR-123957 (Apr. 4, 2013) – Clarifying its interpretation of the Supreme Judicial Court’s Shepherd decision and the Board’s earlier rulings under Shepherd, the Board held that alcoholism did not mitigate a police officer’s unprovoked, off-duty instigation of a bar-room fight, where the claimant’s misconduct was so egregious and directly antithetical to the core function of a police officer. 


BR-122588-A (Mar. 29, 2013) – The Board ruled that the claimant’s alcoholism did not mitigate his unexcused absences and render him eligible for benefits.  The employer sustained its burden under the Supreme Judicial Court’s Shepherd decision to show that the claimant deliberately and wilfully refused to accept help controlling his alcoholism at the time of the misconduct.  Even though the claimant was on a last chance agreement and his job was on the line, he was binge drinking and had to be involuntarily committed  to a detoxification facility by a court order.


BR-103415-A (June 28, 2007) – Denied benefits to police officer fired for committing assault and battery off duty. Board rejected proposition that the claimant's alcoholism mitigated misconduct of a serious nature. Held acts of violence against another person to be deliberate misconduct directly antithetical to the core public protection mission of the police. [Note: The District Court affirmed the Board of Review's decision.]

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