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Dye v. Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board

Superior Court of Delaware

May 23, 2019

KA-DADRA DYE, Appellant,
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEAL BOARD, Appellee.

          Submitted: March 26, 2019

         Upon Appeal from the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board AFFIRMED.

          ORDER

          ANDREA L. ROCANELLI, JUDGE

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

         1. Appellant Ka-Dadra Dye ("Employee") was terminated from employment on March 6, 2018 for not returning to work after a leave of absence.

         2. On June 6, 2018, a Claims Deputy issued a Determination finding that Employee was terminated for just cause and was therefore disqualified from the receipt of unemployment benefits. The Claims Deputy's Determination was mailed to Employee on June 6, 2018 at the Employee's address of record with notice that the Determination would become final on June 16, 2018 unless a written appeal was filed.

         3. The Determination became final and binding on June 16, 2018 in the absence of a timely-filed appeal.

         4. On July 9, 2018, Employee filed an untimely request for appeal of the Claims Deputy's Determination.

         5. On July 25, 2018, an Appeals Referee held a hearing on the sole issue of the timeliness of Employee's appeal. The Appeals Referee affirmed the Claims Deputy's Determination because Employee failed to file a timely appeal within the jurisdictional timeframe set by 19 Del. C. § 3318(b) ("Referee's Decision").

         6. Employee filed a timely appeal of the Referee's Decision with the UIAB. By decision dated September 28, 2018, the UIAB affirmed the Referee's Decision concluding that Employee's request for appeal was untimely and thus not reviewable ("UIAB Decision").

         7. Employee filed a timely appeal of the UIAB Decision to this Court.

         8. This Court reviews the UIAB Decision for an abuse of discretion.[1] This Court's review is limited to determining whether the UIAB's findings and conclusions are free from legal error and supported by substantial evidence on the record.[2] Substantial evidence is relevant evidence that a reasonable person could accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[3] If the record contains substantial evidence to support the UIAB's conclusion, the decision will not be disturbed.[4]

         9. Delaware's unemployment statute provides for "the compulsory setting aside of an unemployment reserve to be used for the benefit of persons unemployed through no fault of their own."[5] An employee who is discharged for "just cause" is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.[6] "Just cause" is "a willful or wanton act or pattern of conduct in violation of the employer's interest, the employee's duties, or the employee's expected standard of conduct."[7] In the context of unemployment benefits, the Court has held that "'wilful' [sic] implies actual, specific, or evil intent, while 'wanton' implies needless, malicious or reckless conduct, but does not require actual intent to cause harm."[8] A single incident of misconduct can be sufficient to establish just cause for termination.[9] An employer bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that an employee was terminated for just cause.[10]

         10. Upon receipt of a claim for unemployment benefits, a Claims Deputy reviews the claim and issues a determination of the claimant's eligibility for benefits.[11] Unless a claimant files an appeal of a Claims Deputy's determination within ten calendar days after such determination was mailed to the ...


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