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MN Work-Release Prisoner Entitled to Unemployment Benefits After Being Fired for Missing Work

Cassandra Jenkins, a Minnesota state prisoner, was sentenced to 30 days in jail with work-release privileges. Her employer agreed to cooperate with the work release rules, including verifying Jenkins’ employment to work-release authorities. However, the employer didn’t verify her employment, and she was not allowed to leave the facility for work. She was then fired for not reporting to work.

Jenkins applied for unemployment benefits and was denied by the state Dept. of Employment and Economic Development, which was upheld by the Court of Appeals. She appealed.

On appeal, the Supreme Court of Minnesota found that Jenkins could not be expected to report for work under the circumstances, and thus could not be discharged from her job due to misconduct that rendered her ineligible for unemployment benefits. The Court reversed the decision below. See: Jenkins v. Minn. Dept. of Employment and Economic Development, 721 N.W.2d 286 (Minn., 2006).

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Related legal case

Jenkins v. Minn. Dept. of Employment and Economic Development