FROM THE ARKANSAS BOARD OF REVIEW [NO. 2017-BR-01587]
F. Campbell, P.A., by: Sheila F. Campbell, for appellant.
Phyllis A. Edwards, for appellee.
MARK KLAPPENBACH, Judge
Taylor appeals the decision of the Arkansas Board of Review
(Board) denying her unemployment benefits upon finding that
she was discharged for misconduct in connection with the
work. We hold that substantial evidence does not
support the Board's finding of misconduct under Arkansas
unemployment-compensation law. Therefore, we reverse and
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. Jones v.
Dir., 2015 Ark.App. 479, 470 S.W.3d 277. Substantial
evidence is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to support a 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,
however, is not merely to rubber stamp decisions arising from
the Board. Id.
person shall be disqualified from receiving unemployment
benefits if it is determined that the person was discharged
from his or her last work for misconduct in connection with
the work. Ark. Code Ann. § 11-10-514(a)(1) (Supp. 2015).
Misconduct, for purposes of unemployment compensation,
involves (1) disregard of the employer's interest, (2)
violation of the employer's rules, (3) disregard of the
standards of behavior the employer has a right to expect of
its employees, and (4) disregard of the employee's duties
and obligations to the employer. Jones,
supra. 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
employer's burden to establish misconduct by a
preponderance of the evidence. Rockin J Ranch, LLC v.
Dir., 2015 Ark.App. 465, 469 S.W.3d 368; see also
Follett v. Dir., 2017 Ark.App. 505, 530 S.W.3d 884.
was employed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) from
1998 until her termination on August 31, 2017. Taylor was a
family service specialist, which required that she review
whether recipients of food stamps remained eligible to
receive those benefits. In June 2017, Taylor received a
reprimand for failing to follow instructions in completing
one of her cases. Taylor maintained that with regard to that
case, she had verified that a mother and son had already
received three months of benefits, which disqualified them
from further benefits. Taylor filed a grievance to have her
reprimand reviewed. In that proceeding, Taylor presented
documentation to prove that she had processed the claim
properly and should not have been reprimanded. This
information was given to the grievance hearing officer by her
union representative. The documentation included the names
and social security numbers of the mother and son; those
pieces of information were not redacted.
supervisors at DHS believed that this disclosure in the
grievance hearing was a violation of DHS's
confidentiality policy and that Taylor was aware of the
policy because she had mandatory online training every six
months. Taylor was subsequently terminated.
did not believe she had done anything wrong because she
thought she was supposed to present supportive documentation
at the grievance hearing, and this was an employer/employee
proceeding at which the hearing officer accepted her
documents. She had not been told that she could not bring
supportive documentation nor had she been told to redact that
particular information for her grievance hearing. Taylor did
not take DHS files from the office but instead had a
"screenshot" of that information. She was unaware
of any DHS policy about such information being taken out of
the DHS office.
filed a claim for unemployment benefits, which was denied at
the agency level. At the Appeal Tribunal level, Taylor
appeared but DHS did not. The Appeal Tribunal denied
Taylor's claim, finding that Taylor was discharged for
misconduct in connection with the work and stating in
The claimant disclosed confidential information to someone
not authorized to have the information in violation of
. . . .
The claimant did not get permission for use of the personal
identifying information or redact the sensitive confidential
records. The claimant showed deliberate disregard ...