Professor was not voluntarily unemployed and is entitled to benefits

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Shepard, Chief Justice.
LaFief filed for unemployment. An administrative law judge held that he was not entitled to unemployment benefits, reasoning that LaFief was not “discharged” because his employment ended at the expiration of his contract term. The Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reversed, finding that ISU’s decision not to reappoint LaFief equated to a “discharge.” The Court of Appeals reversed the board, holding that LaFief was not entitled to unemployment benefits because he had voluntarily agreed to a one-year appointment that expired by its own terms and that he was not “discharged” from his employment when he was not reappointed. The issue is whether a university professor who agreed to a fixed-term employment contract was entitled to unemployment benefits upon the non-renewal of his contract.
Conclusion (slip op. at 5):  We hold that the professor was not voluntarily unemployed and is entitled to benefits. We affirm the Review Board’s decision.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 4):  The fact that LaFief had warning that his employment could terminate upon the contract’s expiration does not change the fact that at the end of the year he became unemployed. The termination of his employment was no more voluntary than the termination of employment of an employee at will, who is presumably on notice that his employment could terminate at any time.
Sullivan and Boehm, JJ., concur.
Dickson, J., dissents with separate opinion, in which Rucker, J., concurs:  . . . [b]ecause I conclude that Professor LaFief had no employment to leave or from which to be discharged, and further that he is personally accountable and responsible for the natural consequences of his agreement to the fixed-term contract, I would reverse the decision of the Review Board.

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