Man Fired Over Candy-Machine Forklift Stunt Is Denied Unemployment

By Brett Snider, Esq. on February 20, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

An Iowa man was fired and denied unemployment benefits after he used a forklift to lift a vending machine that had held his Twix candy bar hostage.

Robert McKevitt claims that he paid for the Twix candy bar in question, and was only "trying to get the snack he had paid for," the Des Moines Register reports.

Can KcKevitt's determination for a Twix really keep him unemployed without benefits?

Hungry, Why Wait? Grab a Snickers Twix

This story really would have been a perfect ad for Twix: a man so overcome by his sugar-lust for a Twix bar tries to jostle one free by lifting and dropping the candy machine with a forklift. And in McKevitt's defense, we've all felt the sting of injustice when a candy bar is held prisoner on the spiraled hook of a vending machine.

Alas, McKevitt's stunt had some not-so-sweet consequences.

According to the Register, McKevitt was fired five days after the Twix-forklift incident. It was likely that McKevitt was an at-will employee, which means his employer could fire him for almost any (non-discriminatory) reason.

Even if McKevitt had a contract which required "just cause" for him to be fired, allegations of using company equipment (i.e., the forklift) to shake loose a candy bar would likely qualify as a good cause for termination. And unfortunately for McKevitt, there is no law prohibiting employers from firing chocoholics.

Denied Candy and Unemployment Benefits

McKevitt denies that he used the forklift to "lift and drop" the vending machine to retrieve his Twix bar, alleging he only used the heavy machinery to move the troublesome machine back in place. But that explanation didn't satisfy a state administrative law judge who, according to the Register, denied McKevitt's claim for unemployment benefits.

A state can unemployment benefits to workers who were terminated for misconduct, although the burden is often on the employer to prove the employee had misbehaved. But McKevitt -- a veteran who served in Afghanistan -- likely didn't do himself any favors by not testifying at his December hearing for unemployment benefits.

Since the judge ruled his conduct "demonstrated a willful disregard for his employer's interests," McKevitt won't be getting any unemployment checks. Now he'll have to decide how to satisfy his Twix fix on a leaner budget.

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