Submitted: March 12, 2014
Upon Consideration of Appellant's Appeal from the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board
Claudia Steadman, Pro se.
Wal-Mart Inc., Pro se. Young, J.
Robert B. Young Justice
This is an appeal from a decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board (the "Board") denying unemployment benefits to former employee of Wal-Mart, Claudia Steadman ("Appellant"), in connection with the termination of her employment from Wal-Mart (herein "Wal-Mart" or "employer"). The issue before the Court is whether Wal-Mart had sufficient just cause to discharge Appellant from her employment. After a month's leave of absence from work, Appellant received warning from her employer that she would be terminated if she did not return to work by the end of January, 2013.
When Appellant did not return to work by Wal-Mart's specified deadline, Appellant violated her employer's expected standard of conduct. Therefore, Wal-Mart had sufficient just cause to terminate Appellant's employment, disqualifying Appellant from receiving unemployment benefits. The Board's decision is supported by substantial evidence, and is free from legal errors. Thus, the decision of the Board is AFFIRMED.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL POSTURE
Beginning in November, 2011, Appellant worked for Wal-Mart as a fulltime cashier in the Pharmacy Division, making $8.10 per hour. Appellant's last day working for Wal-Mart was on December 21, 2012. Before Appellant's last day working for Wal-Mart, she had been given two weeks notice to vacate her home. Due to her lack of time to find a new place to live on such short notice, Appellant elected rented a room in the home of a friend. That house was two hours away from the Wal-Mart where she worked. Appellant decided that it was not feasible for her to drive that distance to work.
Subsequently, Appellant asked the manager of Wal-Mart if she could have a leave of absence for the month of January, 2013, which the manager granted. Appellant had hoped that, during her leave of absence, she could transfer to a Wal-Mart location closer to her present residence. Soon after Appellant applied for a transfer to a new Wal-Mart location, Wal-Mart had a job hiring freeze. Appellant asked the first Wal-Mart location for a second month's leave of absence with the hope that the job hiring freeze would cease. The first Wal-Mart location refused to grant her a second leave of absence. In addition, the manager of the first location informed her that she would be terminated at the end of January. By the end of January, Appellant was in fact terminated by the first Wal-Mart location's manager for failing to return from her leave of absence.
On March 7, 2013, the Claims Deputy of the Delaware Department of Labor Unemployment Division found that Appellant voluntarily quit her employment without good cause, and was disqualified from the receipt of unemployment benefits. On March 14, 2013, Appellant sent a request notification and letter, appealing the Claims Deputy's decision. On April 1, 2013, an Administrative Hearing before Appeals Referee, Dina M. Burge, took place. Wal-Mart failed to attend the hearing.
In her decision, the Appeals Referee found that Appellant's failure to return to work from her leave of absence constituted misconduct. Although the Claims Deputy initially found that Appellant had voluntarily given up her employment, the Appeals Referee found that Appellant had been terminated from her employment at Wal-Mart with just cause, disqualifying her from receiving unemployment benefits.
On April 16, 2013, Appellant sent a letter appealing the Appeals Referee's decision to the Board. On June 26, 2013, an Administrative Hearing was held before the Board, in which the Board affirmed the decision of the Appeals Referee. On July 7, 2014, Appellant filed an appeal, challenging the decision of ...