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Judges: employee discharged for just cause

August 31, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the finding by an administrative law judge and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that an employee of a funeral home was fired for just cause.

Seabrook Dieckmann & Naville appealed the decision by the DWD’s review board regarding employee Monica Hilbert. Hilbert worked full time as a clerical worker for the funeral home for nearly four years. She was discharged in December 2010 for poor work performance and unprofessional conduct. Hilbert then sought unemployment benefits, which the ALJ and review board ultimately granted, finding she was not fired for just cause.

The Court of Appeals disagreed, citing evidence and testimony showing Hilbert’s poor attitude toward other employees, that she was rude to clients and vendors, made several clerical mistakes that caused the company to spend extra money to reprint materials, and would leave work early without approval.

The funeral home warned Hilbert that if she wasn’t going to perform her work, then she would be terminated.

The judges found the funeral home showed that Hilbert breached a duty in connection with work which was reasonably owed to her employer, and that her conduct was of such a nature that a reasonable employee would understand that the conduct was a violation of a duty owed to the funeral home, Judge Elaine Brown wrote in Seabrook, Dieckmann & Naville, Inc. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and Monica Hilbert, 93A02-1202-EX-100.

 

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