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Judges: employee discharged for just cause

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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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  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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