Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Little Hands Childcare & Preschool, Inc. v. Employment Appeal Board

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 6, 2019

LITTLE HANDS CHILDCARE & PRESCHOOL, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
EMPLOYMENT APPEAL BOARD, Defendant-Appellant, and AMY A. HARBST BASCHKE, Respondent.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, Don E. Courtney, Judge.

          Rick Autry, Des Moines, for appellant.

          A. Eric Neu of Minnich, Comito & Neu, P.C., Carroll, for appellee.

          Considered by Bower, C.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.

          BOWER, Chief Judge.

         The Employment Appeal Board appeals the judicial review ruling by the district court reversing the Board's determination that the claimant was discharged for no disqualifying reason. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

         The Employment Appeal Board (EAB) determined Amy Harbst Baschke ("Amy") was discharged for no qualifying reason from her employment with Little Hands Childcare & Preschool, Inc. The district court reversed, and the EAB appeals.[1] Because the EAB's decision was supported by substantial evidence and was not unreasonable or wholly unjustifiable, the district court erred in reversing the EAB's ruling. We reverse and remand for dismissal of the employer's petition.

         A claimant for unemployment benefits may be disqualified by misconduct. See Iowa Code § 96.5(2) (2018). Iowa Administrative Code rule 871-24.32(1)(a) defines "misconduct":

"Misconduct" is defined as a deliberate act or omission by a worker which constitutes a material breach of the duties and obligations arising out of such worker's contract of employment. Misconduct as the term is used in the disqualification provision as being limited to conduct evincing such willful or wanton disregard of an employer's interest as is found in deliberate violation or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of employees, or in carelessness or negligence of such degree of recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer's interests or of the employee's duties and obligations to the employer. On the other hand mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as the result of inability or incapacity, inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances, or good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed misconduct within the meaning of the statute.

See Huntoon v. Iowa Dep't of Job Servs., 275 N.W.2d 445, 447-48 (Iowa 1979). Misconduct must be "substantial" to warrant a denial of job insurance benefits. Newman v. Iowa Dep't of Job Serv., 351 N.W.2d 806, 808 (Iowa Ct. App. 1984). Disqualification for a single misconduct incident "must be a deliberate violation or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has a right to expect." Diggs v. Emp't Appeal Bd., 478 N.W.2d 432, 434 (Iowa Ct. App. 1991).

         Here, after a telephonic hearing, an administrative law judge (ALJ) determined Amy was disqualified for misconduct. Amy appealed to the EAB, which reversed the ALJ's ruling.

         The EAB wrote:

We have carefully weighed the credibility of the witnesses and the reliability of the evidence considering the applicable factors listed above, and the Board's collective common sense and experience. We have found [Amy]'s testimony credible. In particular we find credible that she had a sincere belief that there was black mold in the infant room, that she based this belief on observation of what appeared to her to be black mold, and that she did not initiate contact with parents to inform them of the mold. We find credible [Amy]'s explanation that one person texted her and she replied mentioning the possibility of mold. The employer's testimony to the contrary is based on what a husband said about a conversation [his] wife had. It would not be at all surprising that the husband was mixed up about a detail like who contacted whom first. We also find credible that [Amy] prompted her father to make report to the State over the matter. We thus focus on whether [Amy]'s belief in the black mold was objectively reasonable, and if her actions taken in furtherance of that belief constitute misconduct. Before doing so we note that [Amy]'s exhibit was nearly illegible in the form appearing in the record and so we did not rely on it in making our decision.
In general, "good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed misconduct within the meaning of the statute." Good faith under this standard is not determined by the claimant's subjective understanding. Good faith is measured by an objective standard of reasonableness. Otherwise benefits might be paid to someone whose "behavior is in fact grounded upon some sincere but irrational belief and where the behavior may be properly deemed misconduct." "The ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.