Former Boeing employee Jay Nykol appealed the decision denying his application for unemployment benefits. Boeing terminated his employment as a firefighter when his driver's license was suspended due to an off-duty driving under the influence (DUI) charge.
Nykol argued that he did not violate the work rule requiring him to have a valid Washington driver's license because he obtained a restricted ignition interlock driver's license (Interlock License) after his regular license was suspended.
Nykol also argued that he was terminated not because of his misconduct, but because Boeing failed to accommodate his disability of alcoholism by signing a waiver allowing him to drive the company's vehicles. Neither argument is persuasive.
The Court reasoned:
Nykol first contends his specialty Interlock License was a "valid" Washington driver's license. But Nykol acknowledges that he was not allowed to drive company vehicles unless ignition interlock devices were installed or Boeing signed a waiver. It is also undisputed that Boeing declined to install ignition interlock devices or to sign a waiver, consistent with its preexisting policy. Nykol provides no compelling authority or argument that his specialized license with its limitations is an unqualified valid Washington State driver's license for purposes of the company rule. The plain and ordinary meaning of the term "valid Washington driver's license" is a license that allows a person to drive in Washington unrestricted and unfettered, with no special conditions. It does not mean a specialty license, available only if an individual's regular license is suspended, that has special restrictions and conditions. Nykol's violation of the work rule requiring a valid Washington driver's license was per se misconduct.
This case isn't published so it has no authority over anyone but the parties in this matter but its instructive to see how the courts decide these cases.