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Wimberly v. Labor and Industrial Relations Commission of Missouri

479 U.S. 511, 107 S. Ct. 821, 93 L. Ed. 2d 909 (1987)

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Wimberly v. Labor and Industrial Relations Commission of Missouri

United States Supreme Court

479 U.S. 511, 107 S. Ct. 821, 93 L. Ed. 2d 909 (1987)

Facts

Linda Wimberly (plaintiff) requested a leave of absence from her employment at the J. C. Penney Company (Penney) because she was pregnant. Penney granted Wimberly leave without guarantee of reinstatement, meaning that Wimberly would be rehired if a position was available when she was ready to return to work. When Wimberly notified Penney that she wanted to return, no positions were available. Wimberly filed a claim for unemployment-compensation benefits, which was denied under a Missouri law that disqualified claimants who left work voluntarily and without good cause attributable to their work or their employer. The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (defendant) upheld the denial on administrative appeal, finding that Wimberly stopped working because of her pregnancy and, therefore, left work voluntarily and without good cause attributable to her work or her employer. Wimberly’s case reached the Missouri Supreme Court, which affirmed the denial of benefits, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) prohibited a state from disqualifying an unemployment claimant who left her job due to pregnancy.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

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