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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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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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