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Jones v. Natural Dairy Products Corp.

Superior Court of Delaware

November 1, 2017

JOHN JONES, Appellant,
v.
NATURAL DAIRY PRODUCTS CORP. d/b/a NATURAL BY NATURE and THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEAL BOARD

          Date Submitted: October 17, 2017

         On Appeal from the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board AFFIRMED

          HON. ANDREA L. ROCANELLI, JUDGE

         This is an appeal from the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ("Board"). Upon consideration of the facts, arguments, and legal authority set forth by the parties; statutory and decisional law; and the entire record in this case, the Court hereby finds as follows:

         1. Appellant John Jones ("Employee") worked as a warehouse associate at Natural Dairy Products Corp. d/b/a Natural by Nature ("Employer") from May 3, 2015 until his termination on September 30, 2016.

         2. On September 27, 2015, a temporary driver of Employer took a box out of Employer's truck and placed it near the back door of Employer's facility. Employee noticed the box when he arrived at work. He looked through the box for three to four minutes before taking it and placing it in his personal vehicle. The box contained some cleaning chemicals, tools, wires, documents, and a bag of change. There were also some bugs in the box.

         3. On September 30, 2016, Employer's regular driver notified Employer that his box was missing from the Employer's truck. Employer reviewed the surveillance video and observed Employee take the box and place it in his personal vehicle. Employee had not reported to Employer that he found a box and did not take any other affirmative steps to find the rightful owner of the box.

         4. On October 3, 2016, Employer confronted Employee about the missing box. Employer showed Employee the surveillance video and conducted an exit interview. At no time did Employee attempt to explain why he had taken the box.

         5. Employer terminated Employee for theft, which is a violation of Employer's policies.

         6. Employee filed a claim for unemployment benefits with the Division of Unemployment. By decision dated October 18, 2016, a Claims Deputy found that Employee was terminated for just cause and disqualified from receiving benefits pursuant to 19 Del. C. § 3314(2) ("Section 3314(2)").

         7. On October 21, 2016, Employee appealed the Claims Deputy's decision to an Appeals Referee. On November 18, 2016, following a de novo hearing, the Appeals Referee affirmed the Claims Deputy's decision disqualifying Employee from benefits pursuant to Section 3314(2).

         8. On November 22, 2016, Employee filed an appeal from the Appeals Referee's decision to the Board. On December 14, 2016, the Board remanded the matter to the Appeals Referee for a further evidentiary hearing.

         9. On January 17, 2017, the Appeals Referee held a second de novo hearing. By decision dated January 18, 2017, the Appeals Referee again affirmed the Claims Deputy's decision disqualifying Employee from benefits pursuant to Section 3314(2).

         10. The Appeals Referee concluded that there was just cause for termination based on its finding that Employee committed theft when he took the box and failed to notify anyone about the box or ...


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