ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE:
BYRON L. MYERS JEFFREY A. MODISETT
RYAN McCABE POOR Attorney General of Indiana
Ice Miller Donadio & Ryan
Indianapolis, Indiana JON LARAMORE
Deputy Attorney General
M&J MANAGEMENT, INC., ) ) Appellant, ) ) vs. ) No. 93A02-9810-EX-830 ) REVIEW BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT ) OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, SANDRA ) K. SCHAEFFER, ) ) Appellees. )
Appellant, M & J Management, Inc. (M & J), appeals the decision of the
Unemployment Insurance Review Board (the Board), finding that M & J employee, Sandra
Schaeffer (Schaeffer), had voluntarily left her employment with good cause and was
entitled to unemployment benefits. We reverse and remand.
she, too, knew about the relationship, but did not report it because she disagreed with the
rule. Schaeffer then left her employment with M & J.
Schaeffer applied for unemployment benefits. A Deputy of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development determined that the [i]nformation provided does not establish that [Schaeffer] quit. . . . [N]o penalty is imposed under these circumstances. R. 38. M & J appealed the Deputy's determination of eligibility, and a hearing was held before an administrative law judge. The ALJ made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
It is the finding of this hearing officer that the facts of the matter and the conclusions of law are as follows:
- that [Schaeffer] was employed by [M & J] for approximately 9 years as a district manager.
- that [Schaeffer] voluntarily left employment.
- that the circumstance which gave rise to the separation occurred when [Schaeffer] was approached by the owner concerning an employee who was in violation of an [M & J] policy.
- that [M & J] manages a residential complex.
- that the residential complex is open to the general public.
- that [M & J] had a policy which prohibited any employee from dating any resident at the complex.
- that [Schaeffer] was aware that an employee was dating a resident.
- that [M & J] learned of the situation and approached [Schaeffer] and inquired why she failed to report the violation of the policy.
- that [Schaeffer] responded that she did not enforce the policy because she disagreed of [sic] the policy because she felt it was a violation of the personal rights of the individuals involved.
- that [M & J] responded that if she was not able to enforce the policy of [M & J] and, if she disagreed with the policy of [M & J], she should not continue employment.
- that [Schaeffer] thereafter, voluntarily left employment.
- that the representative of [M & J] appears before this hearing officer and acknowledges the existence of the rule.
- that the representative of [M & J] presents to the hearing officer no specific reason for the existence of the rule.
found to sustain the decision and the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the findings of
facts. Under this standard, we are called upon to review (1) determinations of specific or
basic underlying facts; (2) conclusions or inferences from those facts, or determinations of
ultimate facts; and (3) conclusions of law. McClain v. Review Bd. of the Ind. Dep't of
Workforce Dev., 693 N.E.2d 1314, 1317 (Ind. 1998).
Review of the Board's findings of basic fact are subject to a substantial evidence standard of review. Id. In this analysis, we neither reweigh the evidence nor assess the credibility of witnesses and consider only the evidence most favorable to the Board's findings. General Motors Corp. v. Review Bd. of the Ind. Dep't of Workforce Dev., 671 N.E.2d 493, 396 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996). We will reverse the decision only if there is no substantial evidence to support the Board's findings. KBI, Inc. v. Review Bd. of the Ind. Dep't of Workforce Dev., 656 N.E.2d 842, 846 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995).
The Board's determinations of ultimate facts involve an inference or deduction based upon the findings of basic fact and are typically reviewed to ensure that the Board's inference is reasonable. McClain, 693 N.E.2d at 1317-18. We examine the logic of the inference drawn and impose any applicable rule of law. Id. at 1318. Some questions of ultimate fact are within the special competence of the Board, and it is therefore appropriate for us to accord greater deference to the reasonableness of the Board's conclusion. Id. However, as to ultimate facts which are not within the Board's area of expertise, we are more likely to exercise our own judgment. Id.
for good cause. Id. The employee must show that: (1) the reasons for leaving employment
were such as to impel a reasonably prudent person to terminate employment under the same
or similar circumstances; and (2) the reasons are objectively related to the employment. Id.
This second component requires that the employee show her reasons for terminating
employment are job-related and objective in nature, excluding reasons which are personal
and subjective. Lofton v. Review Bd. of the Ind. Employment Sec. Div., 499 N.E.2d 801,
802 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986).
Initially, we would note that, in the proceedings before the ALJ, Schaeffer contended that she had been discharged and M & J contended that she had quit in a dispute over M & J's employee-relationship-with-resident policy. The ALJ, and subsequently, the Board, found that Schaeffer had voluntarily quit, and this finding is not disputed here. Thus, Schaeffer had the burden of proving that she left her employment for good cause. See Indianapolis Osteopathic Hosp., 669 N.E.2d at 433.
Schaeffer testified before the ALJ that she knew about M & J's policy prohibiting employee relationships with residents, that she did not believe it was her responsibility to enforce the policy or to report a violation, and that she disagreed with the policy because she did not see where it was a concern in, in the way [an employee] did her job. R. 29-32. An employee of M & J testified that when Schaeffer was informed by M & J's owner that a Property Manager had been discharged for failure to report a violation of the policy, Schaeffer indicated that she disagreed with the policy. The owner asked how she could work
for someone with whose policies she did not agree, and Schaeffer responded that she
guess[ed] she couldn't . . . and she got up and left. R. 36.
Schaeffer's reasons for leaving her employment with M & J were subjective, not objective. She personally disagreed with M & J's policy. She personally would not discharge an employee under her supervision for violating the policy. She did not introduce any evidence other than her own personal opinion to show that M & J's policy was unreasonable or that it was without good cause. Thus, Schaeffer failed to carry her burden of proving that her reasons for leaving M & J were objectively related to her employment there,See footnote 1 and the Board's finding that she had voluntarily left her employment for good cause and was entitled to unemployment benefits is contrary to law. We therefore reverse and remand with instructions that Schaeffer's application for unemployment compensation be denied.
Reversed and remanded.
SHARPNACK, C.J., and DARDEN, J., concur.
Converted from WP6.1 by the Access Indiana Information Network