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Acupuncture clinic fails to prove point before COA

February 24, 2017

An employee at an Indiana acupuncture and yoga facility who was repeated screamed at by the owner had good cause for quitting and is thus entitled to unemployment benefits, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Friday.

East Wind Acupuncture Inc. case manager and yoga instructor Elly Lesnick quit her job at the facility after six years due to owner Laura Zaranski’s multiple instances of screaming at Lesnick. Zaranski berated Lesnick for not helping train an employee, called and screamed at her on the phone during Lesnick’s personal physical therapy appointment, and later screamed “I don’t care what the f--- you do,” during a discussion in March 2016 about taking time off for physical therapy.

Lesnick quit several days later, citing Zaranski’s repeated screaming. She sought unemployment benefits, which the administrative law judge granted, finding the working conditions to be unreasonable and unfair enough that a reasonably prudent person would be compelled to quit.

East Wind appealed, and the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development affirmed, leading to East Wind’s appeal to the Court of Appeals.

The judges found no error, despite East Wind’s claims, that the review board erred when it denied the company’s attempt to submit additional evidence to the review board. East Wind had notice and opportunity to respond fully to Lesnick’s claims before the ALJ, but did not submit the addition evidence it sought to bring before the review board, Judge Edward Najam wrote.

The COA found the review board’s judgment is supported by the record, noting Zaranski screamed at Lesnick at least three times in less than four months, and even after Lesnick asked Zaranski not to scream at her.

“In sum, the evidence shows that Zaranski’s treatment of Lesnick was not confirmed to a single incident but manifested an habitual pattern of conduct,” Najam wrote.

The case is East Wind Acupuncture, Inc. v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Elly A. Lesnick, 93A02-1608-EX-1790.
 

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