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Adams v. Director, Department of Workforce Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

April 6, 2016

SHAWN ADAMS, APPELLANT
v.
DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE SERVICES, and QCA HEALTH PLAN, INC., APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS BOARD OF REVIEW. NO. 2015-BR-02306.

         Shawn Marie Adams, Pro se, petitioner.

         Phyllis A Edwards, for Defendant/Respondent Attorney.

         WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge. VIRDEN and HIXSON, JJ., agree.

          OPINION

         

Page 406

          WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge

         Shawn Adams (hereinafter, " appellant" ) appeals the decision of the Arkansas Board of Review (Board) in which she was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 11-10-513(b), finding that she voluntarily left last work without good cause connected with the work due to illness but without making reasonable efforts to preserve her job rights. We hold that substantial evidence does not support the Board's decision and reverse for an award of benefits.

          On appeal from the Board of Review, we do not conduct a de novo review; instead, we review the evidence and all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light most favorable to the Board's findings of fact.[1] We will affirm the Board's findings if they are supported by substantial evidence, which is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[2] Even when there is evidence upon which the Board might have reached a different decision, the scope of judicial review is limited to a determination of whether it could have reasonably reached its decision based upon the evidence before it.[3] We are not here to merely ratify the decision of the Board, but to ensure that the standard of review has been met.[4]

         In the instant case, appellant was employed as a Utilization Review Nurse for the employer for approximately two years. In a letter attached to her appeal to our court, she stated that the employment was detrimental to her health " because of an over abundant amount of mismanagement, hostility, devaluing, social exclusion, innuendos, sarcasm, intimidation and the administration of unsustainable workloads." She applied for unemployment benefits on September 8, 2015, after leaving her job with the employer. The Department of Workforce Services disqualified her from receiving unemployment benefits upon a finding that she voluntarily left last work without good cause connected with the work due to illness but without making reasonable efforts to preserve her job rights.[5]

Page 407

          Our statute providing for disqualification of benefits for voluntarily leaving work and the law cited by the Board in reaching its decision provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(a)(1) If so found by the Director of the Department of Workforce Services, an individual shall be disqualified for benefits if he or she, voluntarily and without good cause connected with the work, left his or her last work.
(b) No individual shall be disqualified under this section if after making reasonable efforts to preserve his or her job rights, he or she left his or her last work:
(1) Due to personal emergency of such nature and compelling urgency that it would be contrary to good conscience to ...

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