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Judges reverse grant of unemployment benefits

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that if an employee’s explanation for the behavior that led to his termination is another terminable offense, that provides just cause for termination. As a result, the judges reversed the decision to grant a fired man unemployment benefits.

In Alebro, LLC v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Jason Scheidell, No. 93A02-1110-EX-970, Alebro, which is a retail seller of salt, appealed the grant of unemployment benefits to terminated employee Jason Scheidell. Scheidell worked for the company for seven years and during that time, some of the company’s salt had been missing. The company learned in 2011 that Scheidell had approached a customer offering to sell him the same salt at a cheaper price. He conducted the sale at Alebro’s property.

Scheidell was fired for theft, but because Alebro didn’t follow proper procedure to admit evidence of the theft, Scheidell was able to rebut the theft allegation. He claimed he did not steal the salt, but just breached his duty of loyalty by selling salt on company property at a lower price. This is also a terminable offense.

The COA concluded that Scheidell is ineligible for benefits because he attempted to rebut the allegation that he stole from Alebro by admitting instead that he only breached his duty of loyalty by selling salt on the company’s property for cheaper than Alebro did, another terminable offense. The judges rejected Scheidell’s argument that their review is limited only to the theft charges. The appellate court decided that the reasoning of Voss v. Review Board of Dept. of Emp’t and Training Servs., 533 N.E.2d 1020, 1021 (Ind. Ct. App. 1989), on which Scheidell relied for his argument, is no longer applicable when an employee defends his behavior against a stated offense by admitting another terminable one.

“He no longer requires the protection of fair notice because he is the one setting forth the allegations of his terminable offenses, not his employer. To do otherwise would allow an employee to turn the shield of Voss into a sword, using his own terminable offenses to obtain undeserved unemployment benefits. This would turn Voss on its head and accomplish the opposite of what the holding in Voss is designed to do,” wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik.

Judge Terry Crone concurred with a separate opinion in which he wrote about why he believes initials should be used in these types of cases instead of identifying the parties.

 

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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