Court: Truck driver’s profanity constitutes misconduct

LITTLE ROCK — A truck driver who was fired for using profanity is not entitled to unemployment benefits, the state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

The court rejected an appeal by Jim Drennan, who was fired as a driver for wooden pallet manufacturer Palex Texas in February 2011. Palex has a plant in McRae.

According to the court’s opinion, Drennan was given a one-day suspension for arriving to work early in an apparent attempt to gain overtime hours, which employees were forbidden to do. Upon being told he was suspended, Drennan said, “This is a crock of s***.”

Drennan was then fired for using profanity. He later applied for unemployment benefits, but his claim was denied because he was fired for misconduct.

On appeal, Drennan argued that his use of profanity was not misconduct because profanity was common in his workplace. A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals disagreed, noting that Drennan admitted he had received an employee handbook that prohibited abusive and inflammatory language.

“It is clear Drennan violated his employer’s rules,” Judge Raymond Abramson wrote in the court’s opinion.