Buckeye Outdoor Personnel v. James R. Hammond, et. al.

Headnotes

H1: Labor & Employment Law > Unemployment Insurance > Unemployment Compensation > Review of Benefit Determinations

 Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 4141.28(A) and (B), an interested party may appeal the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission's decision to the common pleas court of the county where the party is a resident or was last employed. The common pleas court must hear the appeal upon the certified record provided by the Commission. The court may reverse, vacate, modify, or remand the decision to the commission only if the court finds that the decision "was unlawful, unreasonable, or against the manifest weight of the evidence. Otherwise, the court must affirm the Commission's decision.

H2: Labor & Employment Law > Unemployment Insurance > Unemployment Compensation > Eligbility > Just Cause Terminations

A discharge may be considered to be for just cause where an employee's conduct demonstrates some degree of fault. Indeed, fault is essential to the unique chemistry of a just cause determination. However, a willful or heedless disregard of duty or violation of an employer's instructions is not required to satisfy the fault requirement. 

H3:  Labor & Employment Law > Unemployment Insurance > Unemployment Compensation > Eligbility > General Overview

Under O.R.C 4141.29(D)(2)(a), the necessary criteria to obtain unemployment compensation benefits for those who leave their jobs. In part it provides: (D) No individual may serve a waiting period or be paid benefits; (2) For the duration of his unemployment if the administrator finds that; (a) He quit his work without just cause or has been discharged for just cause in connection with his work.

H4: Labor & Employment Law > Unemployment Insurance > Unemployment Compensation > Eligbility > Just Cause Terminations

 Just cause, in the statutory sense, is that which, to an ordinarily intelligent person, is a justifiable reason for doing or not doing a particular act.

H5: Evidence> Testimony > Credibility of Witnesses > General Overview

Labor & Employment Law > Disability & Unemployment Insurance > Unemployment Compensation > Review of Benefit Determinations

Credibility determinations are made by the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission. The reviewing court must defer to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission's credibility and factual determinations. 

Summary of Case

Procedural Posture: Employer Appellant appeals the award of ODJFS award of unemployment compensation to Employee Appellee, relating to the Agency’s determination that just cause did not exist to terminate the employment relationship. 

Overview: Employee was terminated by Employer for the possession of marijuana and possession of knives with blades greater than 3 ½ inches in his lunch box. According to the facts, Employee did not possess his lunch box for a period of 8 days.

Agency Hearing Officer found that the evidence Employer used to terminate Employee was circumstantial. As such, the Agency Hearing Officer granted the award of unemployment compensation to Employee. 

Outcome:  The Court must presume that the agency’s decision was reasonable and give deference to the decision. The Court holds that the decision of the Agency is affirmed and that the Employer’s appeal is denied. 

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