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College cook not erroneously denied unemployment benefits

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A cook at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer couldn’t convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was entitled to unemployment benefits for the summer of 2012.

James Broxton works full time for Sodexo at the school as a cook from August through May; in the other months, he is “on call” and must call in each week to see if work is available. He was never called in during the summer of 2012 and filed a claim for unemployment benefits. He received benefits in prior summers, but the 2012 claim was denied after it was determined he was on a “vacation week mandated by the employer.”

The Review Board of the Department of Workforce Development concluded Broxton wasn’t entitled to benefits due to I.C. 22-4-3-5, which denies benefits to certain employees on a “vacation week” without remuneration pursuant to a contract or regular policy.

Broxton argued the review board improperly determined that his employer was not required to give notice under 22-4-3-5(c). This section is inapplicable if an employer fails to comply with a department rule or policy regarding filing of notice … arising from the vacation period, but the department has no rules or policies requiring employers to file notice.

“[T]he statute merely requires an employer to comply with the Department’s rule or policy; it does not specify the content of the rule or policy. Given the Department’s substantial discretion, we conclude that Broxton’s argument regarding the notice provisions of Indiana Code Section 22-4-3-5(c) fails,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote in James Broxton v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the Department of Indiana Workforce Development, and Sodexo, 93A02-1301-EX-79.

“The Review Board’s determination that Broxton was on an unpaid ‘vacation week’ because of Sodexo’s regular vacation policy and practice and had a reasonable assurance of employment after the vacation period ended is reasonable. Based on the factors set out by the Department, we cannot say that the Review Board erred when it determined that Broxton was ineligible for unemployment benefits due to Indiana Code Section 22-4-3-5.”
 

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