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Judges split in termination ruling

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In an opinion involving whether a worker was fired for just cause after multiple excused absences, the majority acknowledged the split in the Indiana Court of Appeals regarding the reasonableness of "no-fault" attendance policies.

In Lisa M. Beckingham v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Cenveo Corp., No. 93A02-0808-EX-771, Lisa Beckingham appealed the Unemployment Insurance Review Board's denial of her application for unemployment benefits. The board affirmed the administrative law judge's finding she had been fired for just cause for violating Cenveo's attendance policy. Cenveo has an excuse-based policy and the company handbook provided that an employee can be fired for excessive excused absences or tardiness within a one-year period. Beckingham had 14 ½ excused absences within one year.

On appeal, she argued the board improperly determined Cenveo fired her for just cause, that the board should have used Indiana Code Section 22-4-15-1-(d)(3) instead of (d)(2) to rule whether she was terminated for just cause, and the company's attendance policy is unreasonable because it subjected her to termination regardless of her reason for absences.

The appellate court addressed the issue of "no-fault" attendance policies in the Jan. 29, 2009, opinion John D. Giovanoni II v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and Clarian Health Partners, Inc., No. 93A02-0806-EX-545. The majority in that case ruled Love v. Heritage House Convalescent Center, 463 N.E.2d. 478, 482 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983), provided a more sound model for determining eligibility for unemployment benefits when the employee is fired for attendance issues.

But in the instant case, Senior Judge George Hoffman Jr. and Judge Carr Darden held the reasoning set forth in Jeffboat, Inc. v. Review Board of Indiana Employment Security Decision, 464 N.E.2d 377 (Ind. Ct. App. 1984), and Beene v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Employment and Training Services, 528 N.E.2d 842 (Ind. Ct. App. 1988), is the better rationale for determining the reasonableness of an employer's attendance policy. The majority affirmed Beckingham was discharged for just cause under section (d)(2) and that that I.C. Section 22-4-15-1(d) is disjunctive and an attendance issue may be analyzed under section (d)(2) or section (d)(3).

Judge Edward Najam dissented, voting to reverse the board's determination of Beckingham's claims and remand with instructions it consider her claim under (d)(3). Judge Najam wrote he would follow the reasoning of the majority in Giovanoni that termination for unsatisfactory attendance must be analyzed solely under section (d)(3).

The Review Board of the Department of Workforce Development filed a rehearing request in the Giovanoni case March 2.

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  • Politics...
    It seems to me .. the Judge I went before , seemed determined to rule in favor of the Employer from the get go.. I thought this was showing extreme bias.... Politics... Its like they are in a number crunch to as to not pay benefits to employees... Just Saying...

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  1. Please I need help with my class action lawsuits, im currently in pro-se and im having hard time findiNG A LAWYER TO ASSIST ME

  2. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  3. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

  4. I've been denied I appeal court date took a year my court date was Nov 9,2016 and have not received a answer yet

  5. Warsaw indiana dcs lying on our case. We already proved that in our first and most recent court appearance i need people to contact me who have evidence of dcs malpractice please email or facebook nathaniel hollett thank you

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