Store owner who lectured employee about Bible must pay unemployment benefits



TABOR, Iowa (AP) — A southwest Iowa grocery store owner has been ordered to pay unemployment benefits to an employee who quit after he lectured her about the Bible.

A state judge ruled against Tyler Stille, owner of Tabor Market & Deli in Tabor, a 1,000-person city about 25 miles south of Council Bluffs, the Des Moines Register reported Wednesday.

Sherri Chafin said she quit in January 2012 after Stille preached to her about the wisdom of King Solomon and questioned her lifestyle. She filed for unemployment pay.

“He told me that I should read one psalm, or one chapter, per day, something like that,” Chafin testified at an unemployment hearing.

Chafin said Stille also criticized aspects of her life.

“He asked me if I was receiving food stamps, or any welfare, or anything like that. He told me that if I was, it was unjust because I worked and I lived with my roommate — who is my boyfriend and we’re not married,” Chafin testified. “He was very intimidating.”


Sounds like a man who is a little ignorant, and a woman who is a little immature. In life, you come across all sorts of people who disagree with you, and you need to have a backbone.


I’m not sure I understand what the issue is, if any.


Administrative Law Judge Julie Elder sided with Chafin, finding that Stille’s conduct was, at best, “inappropriate, unacceptable and unprofessional” and had created an intolerable work environment.


Well I read the link and the link within the link…and frankly I did not find enough information in either one to draw any sort of conclusion.

One thing that I found interesting was the reference to an apparently “inappropriate” statement made by the employee to a customer. It seems that this is what set off the whole matter. However neither article included the statement.
Knowing what the original statement was - and how the store owner came to know if is (overheard or customer complaint) might give us some good insight.

That said - and since we obviously don’t have all the information - we can only trust that the judge came to a good and just decision.



Generally speaking, if you quit a job voluntarily, you don’t get unemployment benefits.


Oh okay. I think I am beginning to understand now.

Thanks for explaining that Just Lurking. I am disabled and don’t have much work experience. I am not very knowledgeable about things of this nature either. :o


I live across the street from an unemployment office. They have a white color sheet if you are laid off or fired and a yellow sheet if you weren’t but are unemployed. Either way an investigation takes place into the cause of termination. Some situations aren’t that quick and dry. Even the slightest hint or threat of dismissal 2 years prior may turn things in your favor as to collecting benefits.


it appears that the boss was not dealing with her in a professional manner. If she is not drinking or doing drugs that interferes with her work her lifestyle is not his business.


Yes, and the link within the story mentions that she worked there only from September 2011
to January 2012, when she walked off the job. A maximum of four months. I would have thought you had to work longer to be entitled to unemployment benefits, especially if you choose to walk out before you get another job. No?

On the face of it, it seems the guy was inappropriate, but also it seems weird to me that she even started working there given the description of the store and her own beliefs (not Christian).


Question: Can I Collect Unemployment if I Resign From My Job?

Answer: When you resign from your job you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits. In most cases, if you quit voluntarily you are not eligible. However, if you left for good cause you may be able to collect unemployment benefits.

Reasons considered good cause could include, for example, unsafe working conditions, not being paid, a change in your job duties, discrimination, health and safety risks on the job, or some types of family emergencies. Here’s more information on quitting for good cause and collecting unemployment.

Good cause is determined by the state unemployment office, and it varies by state. When you file for unemployment, you will be able to make a case for why you are eligible for unemployment benefits if the employer contests your claim. If your claim is denied, you should be entitled to a hearing where you can plead your case.



I’ve worked for bosses who said and did inappropriate things and guess what I did? I quit and found another job. I did not file a complaint in order to obtain unemployment benefits.


Glad she got benefits, her former employer was out of line and should have known that his judgment and advice were inappropriate.


This article has some of the employer’s side. Although it still leaves a lot of questions.


Yes, but time with previous employers also counts towards the base earnings requirement.


Oh, I see.


Still, if the reason she quit was a genuinely hostile work environment, she may be entitled to compensation. If her boss was ordering her to read Scripture because he disapproved of her lifestyle, that does sound like hostility.


What do you mean by “pay” unemployment compensation?

Unemployment compensation is a payroll tax. It is taken out of every payroll check you get. You pay half, they employer pays half. That money is sent to the government. When you file for unemployment and receive unemployment compensation the employer doesn’t start paying you unemployment directly. That money comes from Washington. It’s already been paid by you and your employer.


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