Weaver Brothers, Inc. v. Wesley D. Mercer

Headnotes

H1: Administrative Law > Judicial Review > Standards of Review > Substantial Evidence

Under O.R.C §119.12, the court of common pleas may affirm the order of an administrative agency, if on appeal the court evaluates all of the evidence as to witness credibility, the probative nature of the evidence, and the weight given to the evidence, and finds that the order is supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence and is in accordance with the law. If the order is not supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence and is not in accordance with law, the court is authorized to reverse, vacate, or modify the order. An appeal of an administrative order is not a “de novo” review by the court of common pleas, instead the court is limited to examining the record of the administrative hearing and any other evidence the court allows in upon its discretion.

H2:  Administrative Law > Judicial Review > Standards of Review > Deference to Agency Statutory Interpretation

When a common pleas court reviews an order of an administrative agency under Ohio Revised Code §119.12, the court must look at the entire record and determine if reliable, probative, and substantial evidence supports the agency’s order and if the order is in accordance with law.  The court must give deference to the agency’s resolution, but does not have to treat the findings of the agency as conclusive. The court can conduct a “de novo” review on questions of law, so as to determine if the administrative order is in accordance with law.

H3: Labor & Employment Law > Unemployment Compensation > Eligibility > Just cause terminations

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. 

H4: Business & Corporate Compliance > Disability & Unemployment Insurance > Unemployment Compensation > Scope & Definitions

Just cause is, to an ordinarily intelligent person, a justifiable reason for doing or not doing a particular act. 

Summary of Case

Procedural Posture: Appellant-Employer brings this appeal based on an administrative proceeding with the Appellee-Employee. Appellee originally filed for unemployment benefits following his dismissal from Appellant and was granted the benefits by the Department. Appellant appealed the granting of the benefits, but the hearing officer denied the claim. 

Overview: Appellee-Employee was a house manager for one of the Appellant-Employer’s chicken layer buildings. Appellee had a propensity for being tardy or absent from work. In the 12 months preceding his termination, appellee received 14 memorandum about his tardiness or absenteeism.

Appellant argues that because the dismissal of Appellee was just, then the Appellee should not be granted any unemployment benefits. Appellee argues that Appellant didn’t follow established disciplinary procedures as laid out in the handbook. 

Outcome: The Court found that the Appellant cause for dismissal was just and reversed the decision to grant unemployment benefits to the Appellee. 

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