Is Being Argumentative Sufficient for Discharge for Misconduct ?

In Gee v. Board of Review, 136 Ill. App. 3d 889, 483 N.E.2d 1025, 91 Ill. Dec. 539 (1985), the plaintiff asked her supervisor if she could leave work an hour early. When the supervisor refused, the plaintiff, who had previously received verbal warnings about loud outbursts in the office, "became irate, yelled and insisted that she would leave early." Gee, 136 Ill. App. 3d at 891. She was then discharged for insubordination. According to the supervisor, the plaintiff's disruptive behavior was a repetitive situation and she had previously been given five verbal warnings, including a final warning a week before her termination. Gee, Ill. App. 3d at 891-92. The referee and Board found that the plaintiff was discharged for misconduct, and the circuit court reversed the Board's decision. Gee, Ill. App. 3d at 893-94. In affirming the circuit court, we concluded that the plaintiff's acts did not "rise to the level of justification for discharge due to misconduct so as to deprive plaintiff of her statutory right for unemployment compensation where she merely argued with her supervisor in his office without using abusive language or threatening to disobey a work order." Gee, 136 Ill. App. 3d at 896. The Court held that "being argumentative is not sufficient for discharge for misconduct." Gee, 136 Ill. App. 3d at 896.