COA reverses, remands unemployment eligibility ruling

Whether a worker voluntarily left employment must be determined by the review board of the Department of Workforce Development, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday, remanding the board’s finding that the worker was eligible for unemployment benefits.

The worker, C.H., served a customer of P&P Home Services LLP from November 2013 to January 2015, when the customer terminated its relationship with the company. The last day C.H. served the customer was Dec. 31, 2014.

C.H. later in January inquired of P&P whether there was additional work. She was informed there was, but certain training, tests and information updates would be required. C.H. did not submit any of the information, and the company marked the worker’s employment file with a separation date of Feb. 15, 2015.

C.H. was initially granted unemployment benefits by a claims deputy. An administrative law judge reversed that decision, then the review board reversed the ALJ.

“The Review Board reached its decision based upon the premise that the employment relationship at issue was one of a temporary employer and temporary employee,” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote for the panel in P & P Home Services, LLC v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and Cynthia Hutcherson, 93A02-1511-EX-1818.

“Finding the relationship severed as a matter of law, the Review Board did not consider whether a permanent employment relationship was voluntarily severed by the employee. Accordingly, we remand for a factual determination of whether, in light of the communications between the parties and the surrounding circumstances, C.H. voluntarily left her employment without good cause.”

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