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Nov 19 2012

Shirvell Wants Unemployment Benefits

Remember a couple years ago when Andrew Shirvell, then an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, was fired for misuse of state computers and stalking a student leader at the University of Michigan? Now he’s in a fight with the state over whether he’s eligible for unemployment benefits.

Subsequently, Shirvell was fired from his job and denied unemployment benefits because he was let go due to misconduct. He also lost in a federal court in August when a jury reached a verdict in Armstrong’s favor, awarding him $4.5 million.

In October, a judge ruled in Shirvell’s favor in a lawsuit he filed to get unemployment benefits. She declared his actions toward Armstrong “constitutionally-protected freedom of speech.” Now officials in Michigan want that decision reversed.

Much of what he said clearly was constitutionally protected freedom of speech, but a federal court has already found him liable for stalking and he was fired because he was using state computers to harass the guy while he was working. I can’t imagine why that wouldn’t be considered being fired for cause.

21 comments

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  1. 1
    matty1

    What happens if he is ineligible for benefit? He uses up his savings, sells everything he has, begs from friends and family till they won’t give him a penny more, and then?

    I’m not saying treat people exactly the same regardless of how they came to be out of work but at some point surely he must be caught in some level of the safety net.

  2. 2
    Artor

    I wonder if his judge thinks that any stalking charges or improper use of state resources is okay if it’s used to harass gays? Does anyone know her name and have access to her case history? It would be interesting to know, and possibly enlightening.

  3. 3
    rabbitscribe

    #1 matty

    He’s a licensed attorney. I’m sure he can find a way to keep body and soul (lol) together…

  4. 4
    chriswalker

    I’m not saying treat people exactly the same regardless of how they came to be out of work but at some point surely he must be caught in some level of the safety net.

    You make an interesting point, but I have to disagree. There’s a massive difference between being laid off due to circumstances beyond your control and being fired as a result of workplace misconduct.

  5. 5
    matty1

    @3 Fair enough it may not be an issue in this case, I was more intrigued by the general idea that someone can have no income and be ineligible for any benefits. What do such people live on?

  6. 6
    chriswalker

    @5 They’re not qualified for benefits because they, in essence, chose to leave their job through their misconduct.

  7. 7
    matty1

    There’s a massive difference between being laid off due to circumstances beyond your control and being fired as a result of workplace misconduct.

    Granted but unless we want the penalty for workplace misconduct to be death by starvation there must be something. Look I’ll drop any attempt to link this to Shirvell specifically, he apparently has enough ways of supporting himself but the principle intrigues me enough to try once more to restate my question.

    Imagine a hypothetical person who.

    -Has no job
    -Has no savings
    -Has no property to sell
    -Has no acquaintances who will support them
    -Is not eligible for any benefits

    What do such people live on, do you let them starve, if not who feeds them and where does that money come from?

  8. 8
    dingojack

    matty – I read your query as asking essentially: ‘When did being a douche-nozzle become a capital offense?’
    Dingo ;)

  9. 9
    shouldbeworking

    Ironic that a a member of the “no entitlements, small government” party is asking for, according to his cohorts, is a government handout. In Canada, if you lose your job for cause, you aren’t entitled to unemployment benefits.

  10. 10
    matty1

    Dingo,

    Well yes, if being a douche-nozzle is the only way to get in that situation I suppose I am. Again I’m not really interested in Shirvell he just triggered a chain of thought but I don’t really know how to make it clearer what I’m asking.

  11. 11
    eric

    matty – I expect that under most welfare systems, he would get enough not to starve regardless of why he’s in the situation he’s in. The irony in this case is that Shirvell has (through his party affiliation) rejected such systems as socialism. He’s asking for exactly the sort of liberal welfare his party fights vehemently against.

  12. 12
    Jordan Genso

    matty1,

    I could very well be wrong, but my perception is that we have other programs to prevent death by starvation (welfare & such). If his standard of living drops low enough, then he should qualify for those.

    I know you’re not suggesting that his standard of living shouldn’t drop because he was correctly fired from his job, but I think that is all everyone here thinks will happen to him if he doesn’t get unemployment compensation.

    With all of that said, if his appeal in the civil lawsuit is unsuccessful (IIRC, a court awarded the student a couple million in damages from Shirvell, but of course that’s still pending an appeal), then that’s going to take his standard of living down even further.

  13. 13
    richardelguru

    Maybe he’ll just shirvell up and blow away?

  14. 14
    matty1

    I could very well be wrong, but my perception is that we have other programs to prevent death by starvation (welfare & such). If his standard of living drops low enough, then he should qualify for those.

    Thank you, that is essentially what I was curious about, what programmes exist to prevent death by starvation for people who (we all agree) don’t deserve the usual support given to the unemployed.

  15. 15
    Akira MacKenzie

    What’s the matter? He couldn’t find a job at NOM or break into the right-wing talk radio scene? Is WND hiring?

  16. 16
    Akira MacKenzie

    Thank you, that is essentially what I was curious about, what programmes exist to prevent death by starvation for people who (we all agree) don’t deserve the usual support given to the unemployed.

    Ironically, Shrivell’s side of the political spectrum opposes those programs as “socialism” and pandering to the “losers” by unjustly keeping them alive.

    Come on, Andy! Don’t be a parasitic moocher, feeding off the coerced tax money of America’s achievers! There is a gold mine in anti-gay insanity for those with the will to claim it. Now get out there, pull your self up by your rugged-individualist bootstraps, and HATE GAYS HARDER!!!

    ;)

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    matty1 asks about the social safety-net for a fired guy like Shirvell. . .

    I’m not well-versed on Michigan’s set of programs though as I understand it, he won’t have access to healthcare through Medicaid as it’s currently delivered in Michigan. Adult residents of Michigan have to have children in their charge to qualify. Ironically, he would be eligible for paid access to healthcare when Obamacare fully engages in 2014.

  18. 18
    brucegee1962

    matty, eric, Jordan, and the rest,

    At least in my experience of the American “safety net,” the answer to your question is — welcome to life beneath the bridge.

    Go into any city and count the homeless as you walk down the street, and I think your question will be answered for you.

    Yes, there is a safety net, but it is wildly uneven. If you live in a rural area in a state with an anti-welfare governor, you are SOL.

    I have a relative who has been diagnosed by multiple doctors as mentally ill and thus unable to work — he also has crippling physical injuries. He has applied repeatedly (assisted by at least two different lawyers) for any kind of available government assistance, and been turned down for social security at least three or four times so far.

    Fortunately we and other relatives are able to send him money to support him. If we weren’t there, he would simply be homeless and turning in cans for recycling to get food — end of story.

    This is somebody who hasn’t done anything wrong. He grew up in a time and place where mentally handicapped people were labled “slow” and basically thrown away by the educational system and society. He was ok as long as his parents were around to take care of him, but now that they’re gone, he gets precisely bupkiss support from the government.

    Your faith that there are government programs to take care of the people described #7 is touching, but I’m afraid that isn’t the country we’re living in right now.

  19. 19
    Alverant

    One of the most embarassing blots on my work history is when I was at a job so boring and directionless I fell asleep at my desk. When I got fired for it I checked Illinois state law to see if that could be used to deny me unemployment. It couldn’t, but actively seeking out a nap spot could. I also found out that stealing from your employer is grounds for denial.

    Now I don’t know what the laws in Michigan are with regards to this but it is clear he stole company resources to fuel his illegal activities. So on those grounds, he should be denied. He shouldn’t be worried though, WND or Faux or other such organization would be happy to give him a job.

  20. 20
    Michael Heath

    For those joking about wingnut organizations giving Shirvell a job, let’s recall Shirvell’s gadar level readings come in at about 11.

  21. 21
    dingojack

    Michael Heath -
    STEP 1 – go to one of those ‘clinics’ that run ‘programs’ that ‘de-gay’ people. Stay for a couple o’ days.
    STEP 2 – have Teddy Haggard give an ‘exclusive interview’ to the ‘press’ (well WND anyway) declaring you’re TOTALLY HETEROSEXUAL!!!
    STEP 3 – send your ‘stories’ into WND via your gay-porn clogged laptop.
    STEP 4 – collect cheques.

    See, it’s not so difficult*. ;)

    Dingo
    —–
    * Being a fundie means:
    > never having to say sorry
    > never admitting you’re a hypocrite and a liar
    > never having to follow logic (or any other reality-based system)
    > never, ever admitting you’re teh ghey!

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