Unemployment Claims in Georgia (2011) Mrs. Callie Bryan Dan Murphy Jones, Cork & Miller LLP McLocklin & Murphy, LLP Macon, Georgia Winder, Georgia Selected Cases in Georgia UE There are lots of initial claims for benefits Multiple layers of review w/n Dept of Labor Claims Examiners may not always know/follow “the law” But we look to where the light is… Individual eligibility Eligibility v. disqualification Monetary considerations Non-monetary considerations Individual is seeking work (generally FT, but…) Individual did not voluntarily quit How do you get to Statham from here? Pauline Wallace lost her job in a garment factory in Braselton and then declined work in Statham due to lack of transportation Eligibility case, not disqualification case Employee burden to provide himself with transportation General Rule Eligibility rule change The individual is able to No one shall be disqualified work, is available for work, “solely because the is actively seeking work individual seeks, applies and is bona fide in the labor for, or accepts only PT market. work… (if) they worked Bona fide in the labor PT during the majority of market amended in 2009 weeks in the base period” re: part-time work Robinson v. Thurmond (2011) Robinson’s position as PT teacher eliminated, but offered FT position on another shift Why did she decline FT work? Is decline of FT work a voluntary quit? Ct: No In light of 2009 amendments, Robinson is entitled to benefits The voluntary quit Employee may not be disqualified from benefits if they can show good cause But the burden is on the employee to establish good cause I quit…or, maybe not… Cornett offers to resign teaching position w/ Bulloch Academy Then refuses to sign letter in dispute of $ But does clean out office Ct: Resignation was an accomplished fact & denial of benefits upheld Allen v. Lankford note “I’m gonna shoot you in the head” • Ann Blair quits as cook after verbal & physical abuse by Owner – Some factual disputes… • Ct finds ‘intentional harassment is good cause’ and an employee does not waive right to leave ‘merely because the employee tolerated such abusive conduct in the past’ A good reason to quit? Bookkeeper leaves w/ concerns over practices & trainee making more $? Talked w/ IRS regarding same She worked 2 months after questioning practices, but quit mid-shift when learning of trainees pay… Disqualification for benefits Absenteeism or tardiness Violation of rules, orders or instructions Failure to discharge duties Property loss or damage Intentional conduct leading to bodily injury Fighting or threatening behavior Refusal to submit to drug test Falsifying employment records Carter v. Caldwell • Incarceration for away from work conduct that leads to termination – Fired for lack of attendance • Ct finds Mr. Carter is not eligible for benefits • What about ‘mere’ arrest (w/ absence) or arrest for offense violating other rules of BOE? Whose ‘fault’ is it that I’m not here? • Roberson in car accident (other driver at fault) • Unable to get to work & released • Ct finds that “he still had the responsibility of providing his own transportation to and from work” • Note McMurray’s dissent… Failure to pass certification test… don’t worry, it’s not your fault! • Tanner v. Golden (1989) • Court holds that since they • Muscogee Co argues they did did take the test several times not take the test every time “the only possible conclusion offered & did not use staff is that the claimant’s efforts development provided to to pass the TCT were bona assist them in passing fide.” • Conscious, deliberate fault? Compare w/ Troup BOE v. Daniel Board of Review held that since Ms. Daniel ‘did not take full advantage of opportunities for being recertified’ and ‘took the test on only three occasions’ she would be denied benefits Court of Appeals reversed & awarded benefits per previous slide Childcare conundrum • Barron released from photocopy job when OT became required • She had solved childcare problems by deadline to do so, released anyway • Ct: no evidence she knew this was the rule or position of Bank You mean that’s wrong? Frank Whitfield struggled w/ 7 yr old patient, pushing him to the ground A technique not in the ‘Manual for nonviolent crisis intervention’ Prior reprimand for non- therapeutic use of seclusion Skinner v Thurmond (2008) Skinner’s job was to find & secure subK to paint & clean commercial properties Properties not well maintained, counseling and continued to use bad subK’s Evidence points to lack of qualified subK’s & so dirty floor is not Skinner’s ‘fault’ Dude, you can get fired for that? Ivey failed a Georgia-Pacific Drug Test & was fired Ivey admitted to smoking marijuana at home GP Policy did not comply with Drug Free Workplace Rule Ct: Employer may still prove justification of drug-based discharge Zero tolerance for fighting? • Ms. Russell fired after slapping co-worker • TNS Mills policy was to discharge any employee regardless of threat or provocation • Ct: Error for Dept not to consider extent to which Ms. Russell was provoked. Department of Labor-Appeals Step 1-Claims Examiner Step 2-Administrative Hearing Officer Evidentiary Stage & opportunity Beware of Hearsay rule & implications Step 3-Board of Review Step 4-Local Superior Court Yamaha (hearsay) rule • Keith McGahee released for sexually harassing co- workers & failing to report others’ harassment • He denied both charges and no witnesses testified • Yamaha failed to call “apparently readily available” witnesses Teal v. Thurmond (2011) Teal failed to account for $50 collected during bartending shift But never admitted to discrepancy Prior warning & company policy HR specialist w/ no personal knowledge of any facts Thank you so much… …for your kind attention!
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