FROM THE ARKANSAS BOARD OF REVIEW [NO. 2019-BR-00069]
Shatarra N. Welch, pro se appellant.
Phyllis Edwards, for appellee.
MARK KLAPPENBACH, JUDGE.
Welch appeals from the finding of the Arkansas Board of
Review that she is disqualified from receiving unemployment
benefits. The Board found that Welch voluntarily left her
employment at Motel 6 without good cause connected with the
work. Because this finding is not supported by substantial
evidence, we reverse and remand.
appeal, we review the findings of the Board in the light most
favorable to the prevailing party, reversing only when the
Board's findings are not supported by substantial
evidence. Davis v. Dir., 2013 Ark.App. 515.
Substantial evidence is such evidence that a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
Id. Even when there is evidence on which the Board
might have reached a different decision, the scope of our
judicial review is limited to a determination of whether the
Board could reasonably reach its decision on the evidence
before it. Id. Issues of credibility of the
witnesses and weight to be afforded their testimony are
matters for the Board to determine. Id.
the employer did not appear at the hearing before the Appeal
Tribunal, the evidence submitted below by both the employer
and Welch demonstrates that she was discharged and did not
quit. The "discharge" form submitted by the
employer states that Welch was discharged for "absence,
tardy, no-call no-show, unreliable" and provides that
the "final decision" was made on October 8. The
employer also submitted two letters that both state Welch was
"terminated due to reliability issues." One letter
provides a timeline of Welch's attendance at work from
October 1 to October 8 and states that "[i]n addition to
above the employee used to be late to come to work quite
often and due to these problems we decided to terminate the
employee." The letter goes on to note that Welch reached
out to one of the employer's front-desk staff on October
12, that the employer offered to meet with her, and that
Welch said she could not come to the motel during the offered
times. The letter states that "[i]f she wanted to be
reconsidered she could have made an effort to come during
daytime and speak to the owner."
the employer, Welch submitted a form below stating that she
was discharged for absenteeism on October 8. She wrote on the
form and testified at the hearing that she received a text
message from the manager on October 8 telling her "do
not return to work." Welch testified that an employee
who was not a member of management later proposed that Welch
come in between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. on October 12. Welch did
not go because a manager had already told her not to return,
and the employee did not tell her that she had spoken to
management on Welch's behalf.
Code Annotated section 11-10-513(a)(1) (Repl. 2012) provides
that an individual shall be disqualified for benefits if she
voluntarily and without good cause connected with the work
left her last work. The Board found that Welch did not show a
good-faith effort to remain employed because she refused to
meet with the owner to discuss her return to work after the
October 12 communication. This finding is not supported by
substantial evidence because the evidence shows that Welch
had already been discharged by October 12. Both Welch and the
employer stated that she was discharged on October 8; thus,
her failure to meet with the employer after October 12 to be
"reconsidered" is irrelevant. Accordingly, we
reverse and remand for the Board to determine whether the
circumstances of Welch's discharge entitle her to
benefits in accordance with Arkansas Code Annotated section
11-10-514 (Supp. 2017).
Abramson, Gladwin, Whiteaker, and Hixson, JJ., agree.
Waymond M. Brown, Judge, dissenting.
following reasons, I must dissent from the majority's
decision to reverse and remand without an order for
additional evidence to be reviewed by the Board. The plain
text of Arkansas law provides that additional evidence may be
ordered before the Board so that it may modify its findings
of fact or conclusions.
appeal to this court, Welch provided additional text messages
as evidence that she had been discharged by her employer and
that she had not voluntarily left her workplace. The
additional text messages, dated October 8, 2018, were from
her employment manager. The manager sent these messages after
Welch's daughter had informed the manager that Welch
would be absent from work on that day. The first message
stated, "So I am aware that you won't be coming to
sign the termination ...