FROM THE ARKANSAS BOARD OF REVIEW [NO. 2018-BR-01489]
Randall Teague, pro se appellant.
Randall Teague appeals from the Arkansas Board of Reviews
(Boards) decision denying him unemployment benefits, finding
that Teague was discharged for misconduct in connection with
the work. We hold that the Boards finding of misconduct is
not supported by substantial evidence; therefore, we reverse
Board affirmed and adopted the Appeal Tribunals decision;
therefore, the Appeal Tribunal decision becomes the decision
of the Board for purposes of appellate review. Law
Offices of Craig L. Cook v. Dir., 2013 Ark.App. 741, 431
S.W.3d 337. Board decisions are upheld if they are supported
by substantial evidence. Blanton v. Dir., 2019
Ark.App. 205. Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence
that reasonable minds might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Id. We view the evidence and all
reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light most
favorable to the Boards findings. Id. Even if the
evidence could support a different decision, our review is
limited to whether the Board could have reasonably reached
its decision based on the evidence presented. Id.
However, our function on appeal is not merely to rubber-stamp
Board decisions. Id. Whether a claimant undertook an
act of misconduct sufficient to prevent the receipt of
unemployment benefits is a question of fact. Id. In
the unemployment-compensation context, misconduct is defined
as (1) disregard of the employers interests; (2) violation
of the employers rules; (3) disregard of the standards of
behavior that the employer has a right to expect of its
employees; or (4) disregard of the employees duties and
obligations to the employer. Id. To constitute
misconduct, however, there must be the element of intent.
Id. Mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct,
failure in good performance as the result of inability or
incapacity, inadvertencies, ordinary negligence in isolated
instances, or good-faith errors in judgment or discretion do
not constitute misconduct. Id. There must be an
intentional or deliberate violation, a willful or wanton
disregard, or carelessness or negligence of such degree or
recurrence as to manifest wrongful intent or evil design.
Id. It is the employers burden to establish
misconduct by a preponderance of the evidence. Id.
was a substitute teacher for Subteach from August 2017 until
October 2018. Teague admittedly received a 2016 version of
Subteachs substitute-teacher training manual, which did not
contain a prohibition from interacting with students on
social media. Teague was fired in October 2018 for having
interactions with a male student on Facebook messenger. The
employers human-resources department informed Teague that
this was in violation of the employers policy against such
communications. Teague filed a claim for unemployment
employer filed an employer-statement form in connection with
Teagues claim, reciting that Teague "resigned."
The employer did not recite on the form that Teague had
violated any company policy or any particular provision of
company policy, nor did it state that Teague was ever
informed of the company policy.
hearing before the Appeal Tribunal, only Teague appeared. The
employer did not appear, although it had sent in four pages
from the "ESS Employee Handbook 2018." Within the
employers "Social Media Expectations" is a
provision on page twelve that recites: "4. Do not accept
students as friends on personal social networking sites.
Decline any student-initiated friend requests, and do not
initiate any friend requests to students." Teague said
he never received the 2018 ESS employee
handbook; he was hired in 2017 and said that he received only
the 2016 substitute-teacher training manual. Teague testified
that he knew the students mother and was already friends
with this student ("CS") before he was hired.
Teague presented a screenshot of interactions, indicating
that they had been friends dating back to 2016. The messages
between Teague and CS showed Teague asking CS about school
and playing football.
Appeal Tribunal found that despite Teagues denial of having
ever received the employers policy on social media, "it
is unreasonable that the employer would have withheld the
social media policy" that "prohibited text messages
and other forms of social media with students." The
Appeal Tribunal found that Teague "did receive" the
policy and concluded that Teagues actions "were not in
the interest of the ...