FROM THE ARKANSAS BOARD OF REVIEW [NO. 2018-BR-00879]
REVERSED AND REMANDED
L. Hopkins, pro se appellant.
Phyllis Edwards, Associate General Counsel, for appellee.
Klappenbach and Whiteaker, JJ., agree.
F. VIRDEN, Judge
Tamica Hopkins appeals from the decision of the Arkansas
Board of Review (Board), which affirmed and adopted the
opinion of the Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal) denying her
unemployment benefits on the basis that she was discharged
from last work for misconduct connected with the work.
Appellant alleges the Board and the Tribunal erred in finding
that her firing was for misconduct and therefore finding her
disqualified from receiving benefits. We reverse and remand.
was employed by the Wynne School District as a teacher's
aide. On June 19, 2018, the school board voted to discharge
Hopkins due to her attendance. She was denied unemployment by
the Department of Workforce Services (Department) and
appealed the denial to the Tribunal, which held a telephone
hearing on July 20, 2018.
Roach, principal of the junior high school, testified that
the school district has an attendance policy, that the school
district provided the policy to Hopkins, and that the policy
indicates that an employee must "follow the protocol of
being absent" and must not be absent over the permitted
number of days. Roach further testified that Hopkins had not
filed for leave pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act,
that Hopkins had accumulated eighteen and a half absences for
the school year as of January 9, 2018, that she had received
reprimands regarding her attendance, and that after the
reprimands, she was absent an additional thirty-one days.
Hopkins also testified, asserting that her absences were all
due to personal illness and, therefore, were beyond her
control and not willful.
Tribunal affirmed the Department's denial of unemployment
benefits under Arkansas Code Annotated section
11-10-514(a)(2) (Repl. 2015), finding that Hopkins was
discharged for violating the employer's attendance
policy. Hopkins timely appealed, and the Board affirmed and
adopted the Tribunal's decision. Hopkins now appeals the
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. Wilson v.
Dir., 2017 Ark.App. 171, 517 S.W.3d 427. Substantial
evidence is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to support the conclusion.
Id. Even when there is evidence upon 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 it did based on
the evidence before it. Id. Our function on appeal
is not merely to "rubber stamp" decisions arising
from the Board. Id.
Code Annotated section 11-10-514(a) (Supp. 2017) provides in
(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 is discharged from his or her last work
for misconduct in connection with the work.
(2) In cases of discharge for absenteeism, the individual
shall be disqualified for misconduct in connection with the
work if the discharge was pursuant to the terms of a bona
fide written attendance policy, regardless of whether the
policy is a fault or no-fault policy.
(3)(A) Misconduct in connection with the work includes the
violation of any behavioral policies of the employer as
distinguished from deficiencies in meeting production