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Brown v. National American University

September 14, 2004

CLARA S. BROWN, RELATOR,
v.
NATIONAL AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, RESPONDENT, COMMISSIONER OF EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, RESPONDENT.



Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 14291 03.

Considered and decided by Anderson, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

When determining the appropriate definition of employment misconduct to apply, this court looks to the date an employer discharged an employee rather than the day or days on which the employment misconduct occurred.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gordon W. Shumaker, Judge

Affirmed

OPINION

Relator challenges the decision by the commissioner's representative that she is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she was discharged for employment misconduct. Relator, who was discharged for borrowing money from respondent university's adult students, argues that under the 2002 statutory definition she did not commit employment misconduct. Because we look to the date an employee was discharged rather than the day or days on which the employment misconduct occurred to determine which statutory definition applies, we apply the 2003 statutory definition of misconduct. Under that definition, relator committed employment misconduct, and we therefore affirm the decision by the commissioner's representative.

FACTS

Relator Clara Brown worked as a receptionist and administrative assistant for respondent National American University (NAU) from May 15, 2000, until August 4, 2003. Her immediate supervisor was Mary Ellen Schmidt, the campus director of NAU.

In the fall of 2001, Schmidt learned that Brown had borrowed money from a student. Schmidt told Brown that this was inappropriate. Brown both acknowledged the inappropriateness of borrowing money from students and said she would not do so again. Schmidt made no formal reprimand nor did she tell Brown that further similar conduct could jeopardize her employment.

In October 2002, Schmidt discovered that Brown had again borrowed money from a student. Schmidt reiterated to Brown that such conduct was inappropriate and said that it could result in the loss of her job. Schmidt learned in early July 2003 that Brown had borrowed money from another student. On July 2, 2003, Schmidt told Brown that this conduct could not continue and that "it was grounds for termination." On July 28, 2003, a student complained to NAU's director of admissions that she had loaned money to Brown but that the loan had not been repaid. The record is not clear as to when this loan was made.

NAU discharged Brown on August 4, 2003, for "borrowing money from students." After being denied unemployment-compensation benefits by a representative of the commissioner of the department of employment and economic development, Brown brought the matter before this court through certiorari.

ISSUES

1. Does this court look to the date of discharge or the dates on which the employment misconduct occurred to determine which statutory ...


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