Unemployment Compensation Denied Absent Appropriate Paperwork

| Jul 7, 2011 | Unemployment Compensation |

Tonya Hartless v. Director, ODJFS (Pickaway App. March 21, 2011), 2011-Ohio-1374: Claimant appeals from the trial court decision affirming the decision by the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission in denying her unemployment compensation application. She worked as a warehouse associate. The employer maintained a no-fault attendance policy that consisted of a warning, a written warning, a three-day suspension and termination after twelve occurrences. Before her discharge, claimant progressed through into a three-day suspension. She was discharged after missing work without notifying the employer that she would be absent.

In her appeal, the claimant first argued that her actions were justified because of a rigid, unbending nature of the employer’s attendance policy because she questioned whether her employer actually considered her last two absences as a basis for discharging her. The court did find some evidence in the record that the employer did consider these two absences in its decision because the claimant did not call into work to report her absences. The court further concluded that the employer followed each step of its progressive disciplinary policy. Although the claimant argued that she had suffered from various bona fide illnesses to explain some of her absences, she did not produce any doctor’s excuses at the administrative hearing, and the employer’s file did not contain any. The court rejected claimant’s argument that there was an employer’s record in evidence that the claimant called off sick. However, without additional documentation, the court could not say that this entry represented anything more than the claimant’s preferred reasons for her absence. Although the court found one document in the record to justify an absence due to a bona fide illness, the claimant still accumulated more than the number of occurrences permitted under the progressive disciplinary policy to justify her termination.

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