Dispatcher fired after firecracker incident loses unemployment appeal

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An appeals court panel Thursday affirmed denial of unemployment benefits for a Starke County sheriff’s dispatcher who took time off work after a firecracker exploded behind her at work and she was diagnosed with hearing loss, vertigo and tinnitus.

But after dispatcher Gina Albright took sick days, vacation time and bereavement leave, she failed to report to work or call to notify the office that she wouldn’t be in, after which she was fired. The Department of Workforce Development denied unemployment benefits, ruling Albright was fired for cause.

The Court of Appeals agreed in Gina Albright v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and the Starke County Sheriff's Dept., 93A02-1301-EX-81.  The panel noted that while Albright had a diagnosed medical condition due to the incident at work, her doctor had cleared her to work.
The record shows Albright was one of two dispatchers who worked 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shifts, four days on and four days off, to cover the northwest Indiana county’s emergency communication services, and authorities said her failure to report to work or call in to report an absence was the first time such an instance had occurred.

The court used the unique responsibilities of dispatchers to set a higher standard for those professionals.

“One of the major objectives of a 911 dispatcher’s duties is to assist people in an emergency. As such, a functioning dispatcher’s office is essential to public safety. There must be a sufficient number of dispatchers on the job so that emergencies are responded to in a timely manner. We conclude that dispatchers are an appropriately distinct class upon which to assess the uniform enforcement of the unexcused, unreported absence policy,” Judge Terry Crone wrote in a unanimous opinion joined by Judges Michael Barnes and Rudy Pyle III.

The opinion also records in a footnote a change in case captions for appeals from the Department of Workforce Development – names, rather than initials, will be used unless an affirmative request for confidentiality is made as outlined in Recker v. Review Board, 958 N.E.2d 1136, 1138 n.4 (Ind. 2011).



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  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon