Iowa Man Fired After Offering Boss Sex, Loses Unemployment
*Photo above is a stock photo and not associated with this case.
When your job just isn't satisfying you, there are certain things you just cannot do, as one eastern Iowa man learned the hard way.
Late last year, 30-year-old Jacob Stepp started working behind the cash register at a Dollar General store in Fayette, in northeast Iowa. Stepp was working at the store part-time and wasn't pleased with the number of hours he was working. He was apparently desperate for more work. So desperate he'd do anything if his boss would put him on the schedule more often.
According to the Iowa Capital Dispatch, on April 1, 2021 (April Fool's Day), Stepp is accused of sending his boss, Nikki Everheart, a text. He was upset that his hours had been cut and that he was working only one day the next weekend. The text allegedly said, in part,
Idk what you want from me or want me to do to prove to you I want this job. I didn’t want to have to ask this, but are you cutting my hours because u want something sexual?? U wouldn’t be the first boss I had to f— to get more hours, had to do the same thing when I worked at (another company). I’m serious Nikki I’ll do whatever it takes to get at least 3 days a week. Just name what you want and I’ll do it.
It was foolish alright.
After receiving the text, Everheart shot it over to her district manager. Stepp was out of work before the day was over. Iowa Capital Dispatch reports he was fired due to “unwelcome sexual advances,” and “unwelcome sexually suggestive texts”.
What surprised me was that, after being let go, Stepp received almost $600 in unemployment from the state of Iowa. He also got an additional $1,200 from Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
Daniel Zeno, an Administrative Law Judge, ruled during a hearing that what Stepp said in that text disqualified him from receiving the benefits. Judge Zeno said,
Mr. Stepp sexually harassed Ms. Everheart in clear violation of the employer’s policy. Mr. Stepp’s April 1 text message was basic – offering sex in exchange for being scheduled at least three days per week – sexist, and disqualifying misconduct.
There had been a previous hearing on Stepp's unemployment eligibility. However, Dollar General did not take part in that, so Stepp will keep the $590 in state benefits. That's unfortunate, but the rules are the rules. However, the $1,200 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation he received will have to be paid back.