FROM THE ARKANSAS BOARD OF REVIEW [NO. 2015-BR-02273]
Michael Hamby, for appellant.
Phyllis A. Edwards, for appellee.
D. VAUGHT, Judge
Ridley was disqualified by the Employment Security Department
for unemployment benefits on the grounds that she left her
last employment voluntarily and without good cause connected
to the work. This decision was affirmed by both the Appeals
Tribunal (Tribunal) and the Board of Review (Board). On
appeal, Ridley argues that the findings of the Board are not
supported by substantial evidence. We affirm.
to Arkansas Code Annotated section 11-10-513(a) (Repl. 2012),
an individual shall be disqualified for unemployment benefits
if she voluntarily and without good cause connected with the
work left her last work. Whether there is good cause for an
employee to quit her job is a question of fact. Claflin
v. Dir., 53 Ark.App. 126, 127, 920 S.W.2d 20, 21 (1996).
"Good cause has been defined as a cause that would
reasonably impel the average able-bodied, qualified worker to
give up his or her employment." Carpenter v.
Dir., 55 Ark.App. 39, 41, 929 S.W.2d 177, 178 (1996)
(citing Perdrix-Wang v. Dir., 42 Ark.App. 218, 856
S.W.2d 636 (1993)). Other elements in determining good cause
are "whether the employee took appropriate steps to
prevent the mistreatment from continuing, " Teel v.
Dir., 270 Ark. 766, 606 S.W.2d 151 (Ark. Ct. App. 1980),
and "whether the employee took appropriate steps to
rectify the problem." Claflin, 53 Ark.App. at
128, 920 S.W.2d at 22.
review the Board's findings in the light most favorable
to the prevailing party and affirm the Board's decision
if it is supported by substantial evidence. Voss v.
Dir., 2015 Ark.App. 521, at 3, 471 S.W.3d 661, 664.
Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence that a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Id., 471 S.W.3d at 664. Even when there
is evidence on which the Board might have reached a different
decision, the scope of our review is limited to a
determination of whether the Board reasonably could have
reached the decision that it did based upon the evidence
before it. Id. at 3-4, 471 S.W.3d at 664. Issues of
credibility of witnesses and weight to be afforded their
testimony are matters for the Board to determine.
Id. at 4, 471 S.W.3d at 664.
a dental assistant, began working for Dr. David
Peppers in January 2014. On the
morning of August 24, 2015, Ridley learned that a coworker,
Amanda Sponsel, was planning to tell Dr. Peppers's wife
that Ridley and Dr. Peppers had exchanged text messages of
nude pictures of each other. Later that morning, Ridley left
the office and never returned. In September 2015, Ridley
filed a claim for unemployment benefits. She received a
notice of agency determination denying her claim, stating
that she left her work voluntarily and without good cause
connected with the work.
appealed the agency determination to the Appeals Tribunal,
and a hearing was held on October 22, 2015. Ridley testified
that from October to December 2014, Dr. Peppers flirted with
her, asked her for naked pictures, touched her breasts and
butt and, on one occasion, asked her to have sexual
intercourse. She admitted that she sent him nude pictures of
herself on more than five occasions thinking that he would
treat her better. She said he sent her pictures of his penis.
Ridley also testified that Dr. Peppers was verbally and
mentally abusive to her at work. She said that he was violent
in the office, throwing things and knocking pictures off the
wall. She said that he once threw a "curing light"
at her because he was upset about a procedure.
to Ridley, on August 24, 2015, Sponsel said she planned to
leave the office to tell Mrs. Peppers about the nude pictures
that Ridley and Dr. Peppers had exchanged. Ridley said she
thereafter received a text message from Sponsel advising that
Mrs. Peppers recommended that she (Ridley) leave the office
immediately because "[Mrs. Peppers] had no idea what
[Dr. Peppers] would do" when he learned that his wife
knew about the pictures. Ridley testified that she left the
office immediately and went to Mrs. Peppers's office.
she left, Ridley testified that she believed she no longer
had a job at the dental practice, although she conceded she
was never told by Dr. Peppers that she was fired. She
admitted that she left the office because Mrs. Peppers
suggested she should. Ridley said that she exchanged emails
with Dr. Peppers on August 26. She said that he did not ask
her to return to work and that she did not ask him at that
time if she could return to work. She said that she loved her
job but did not ask him about it because she was afraid of
testified that she worked as a dental assistant for Dr.
Peppers for eight-and-one-half years and that she carried on
a sexual relationship with him for eight years. She stated
that Dr. Peppers confided in her that he abused
pharmaceutical drugs. Sponsel further stated that while Dr.
Peppers "picked on" Ridley about her work, she
(Sponsel) was unaware of the nude pictures or any sexual
contact between Ridley and Dr. Peppers. Sponsel learned of
the pictures on August 24 and advised Ridley that she planned
to tell Mrs. Peppers about them. Sponsel also said that she
and Mrs. Peppers told Ridley to leave the office because they
were afraid of what Dr. Peppers might do.
Peppers admitted that he had a problem with prescription
medication following failed surgeries. However, he denied
engaging in violent behavior in the office, requesting nude
pictures from Ridley, and touching her. He stated that she
sent him the first nude picture and that he asked for more,
which she sent.
Peppers also stated that he did not fire Ridley and that she
could have had her job back if she would have returned to
work. He stated that he was expecting her to return to work
the following day. He testified that he sent her a text
message asking if she was okay, but she did not respond. Dr.
Peppers also testified that Ridley did not fear ...