Submitted: May 30, 2019
From the Decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board.
Jennifer Gimler Brady, Esquire and Jennifer Penberthy
Buckley, Esquire, POTTER ANDERSON & CORROON, LLP,
Attorneys for Appellant Planned Parenthood of Delaware, Inc.
T. Earle, Esquire and Zachary A. Silverstein, Esquire, ZARWIN
BAUM DEVITO KAPLAN SCHAER TODDY, P.C., Attorneys for Appellee
C. Mulveny, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General for the STATE OF
DELAWARE, Attorney for Appellee Unemployment Insurance Appeal
CHARLES E. BUTLER, JUDGE.
Corbin ("Corbin" or "Claimant") worked at
Planned Parenthood of Delaware, Inc. ("PPDE"), as a
revenue cycle manager from March 2015 until August 14, 2017,
when she was terminated. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Corbin filed
a claim for unemployment benefits.
Corbin's termination came at the end of a string of
problems with her employment resulting in a number personnel
actions. In October 2015 there was a "coaching
plan" formalizing some of her shortcomings on the
In January 2017 there was a "verbal warning"
followed by a "compliance
discussion." By July of 2017, Corbin was given a
"performance improvement plan."
in August 2017, PPDE learned that Corbin had approached an
employee in the payroll department and told her she (Corbin)
was "working on a project regarding people's
salary" and seeking pay information on other employees
within PPDE. In fact, Corbin was not working on an
employer-authorized project and salary disclosures violated
straw" and triggered Corbin's termination.
formal notice of termination, PPDE listed the following
deficiencies as the basis for its actions: 1) Corbin
misrepresented to a payroll clerk that Corbin was working on
a project and needed management pay information; 2) failed to
meet the basic competencies of her position despite multiple
coaching and performance improvement communications; 3)
reacted poorly to coaching and feedback, including responding
with emails to her supervisor and HR manager with malicious,
false and harmful statements; and 4) failed to take
responsibility for completing her work and instead passing it
off to others.
application for unemployment benefits, PPDE filed a response.
A claims deputy ruled that Corbin's termination was
without just cause and she was eligible to receive
unemployment benefits as a result. PPDE appealed that
dispute then came to an appeals referee, who heard the
evidence de novo, on a record that was
transcribed. At that hearing, the Human Resources
manager for PPDE explained that the performance improvement
plan was an effort to bring Corbin's performance up to
par, but her dishonesty in requesting management pay
information was a step beyond the employer's tolerance,
and she was terminated.
appeals referee reversed the ruling of the claims deputy,
concluding that Corbin was not entitled to benefits. The
appeals referee ruled:
While poor performance without proof of intentional or gross
misconduct as its cause will not disqualify a discharged
individual from the receipt of unemployment insurance
benefits, this tribunal is left with the impression that her
failure to satisfactorily meet expectations was essentially
intentionally insubordinate. However, the final incident
Claimant is alleged to have committed makes the issue moot,
in that it allows for the immediate termination of employment
for any such violation.
Ms. Corbin then appealed the referee's decision to the
Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board ("UIAB").
UIAB hearing, the Board asked the parties to limit their
presentation to materials not already in the record as the
Board had the record of proceedings before the appeals
referee. Corbin testified before the Board that she worked in
the finance area of PPDE and had access to the pay
information of all employees. She denied having asked any
other employee to look up pay information of other employees
on her behalf. Finally, she testified that other employees
had accessed employee pay information without discipline.
PPDE appeared at the hearing, but rested on the record
established before the appeals referee.
UIAB reversed the appeals referee and sided with Corbin. As
to her work performance, the Board said only that "[t]he
majority finds that Employer has failed to provide sufficient
evidence showing that Claimant's substandard conduct was
willful such that there were would be just cause to terminate
Claimant."' As to the final straw
evidence that Corbin asked a coworker to look up salary
information as part of a project Corbin was working on, the
Board, pointing to Corbin's claim that others had looked
up such information in the past without discipline, held that
"Employer's evidence does not sufficiently outweigh
Claimant's evidence that the majority can conclude there
was just cause to terminate Claimant."
has appealed the decision of the UIAB, invoking this
Court's jurisdiction for appellate review.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court is limited to consideration of the record before the
administrative agency when reviewing UIAB
decisions. The Court must determine whether the
board findings of fact and conclusions of law are free of
legal error and supported by substantial evidence in the
record. The Court does not weigh evidence,
determine issues of credibility related to testimony or the
record, or make its own findings of fact. Sitting in