from the Review Board of the Department of Workforce
Development Case No. 18-R-226
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT George C. Patrick Crown Point, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Aaron T. Craft Deputy Attorney General
S.W. was employed full-time by his employer (Company). When
he voluntarily terminated his position, he sought
unemployment benefits under Indiana's Unemployment
Compensation Act (the Act). The Department of Workforce
Development (DWD) awarded him benefits. Company now appeals,
arguing that the Review Board erred by determining that S.W.
was eligible for unemployment benefits. Finding no error, we
On May 26, 2015, S.W. began working full-time for Company.
Around the time of his separation, he was performing his
assigned job duties as a department head. But on October 30,
2017, S.W. was placed on a thirty-day performance improvement
plan, which included a list of expectations for S.W. to meet
and which informed S.W. that unless he demonstrated
significant improvement, he would be subject to discipline.
Company claims it placed S.W. on the improvement plan because
of concerns that S.W. was not sufficiently performing his job
duties. While S.W. was on the improvement plan, he was not
informed that his job performance did not meet the level of
improvement that Company wanted.
On November 30, 2017, at the end of the duration of the
improvement plan, Company met with S.W., informing him that
he had a choice: he could be demoted to a lower position with
lower pay or he could resign. S.W. was not eligible for
discharge at that time. He chose to resign.
At some point, S.W. sought unemployment benefits. On January
4, 2018, a DWD claims deputy determined that S.W. had not
been discharged for just cause and awarded S.W. unemployment
benefits. On January 12, 2018, Company appealed the grant of
benefits to the DWD's appeals division.
On February 7, 2018, an administrative law judge (ALJ)
conducted a hearing by telephone. During the hearing, one of
Company's witnesses, who was S.W.'s supervisor and
the assistant director, testified that Company placed S.W. on
the performance improvement plan because 1) he was not
communicating daily with his supervisors or training his
staff as directed; 2) he was absent from his work area
several times a week; 3) he did not provide documentation of
conversations he had with supervisors or staff, including
documentation about a shift change for one employee; and 4)
he changed his shift without notifying his supervisors. The
supervisor also testified that Company was not aware that
S.W. had not created training materials or conducted any
trainings until he was already on the improvement plan. The
supervisor then testified that S.W. did not successfully
complete the plan because 1) he did not meet deadlines and 2)
he was not a cooperative or communicative employee. The
supervisor was unable to identify a specific deadline that
S.W. had missed and was inconsistent in describing when he
had asked S.W. to submit certain materials.
S.W. testified that his job required him to be in different
departments; that his supervisor bore him ill will and was
creating a hostile work environment, leading S.W. to file a
complaint with the human resources office; that he was
directed to perform staff trainings but not to create
training materials; that when he was asked for a training
checklist, he could not find it at that time but delivered it
to the director later that day; that he talked with his
supervisor every day; and that he was never told that his
position was in jeopardy.
The next day, the ALJ issued a decision, concluding that S.W.
voluntarily left his employment with good cause in connection
with the work and determined that S.W. was eligible to
receive unemployment benefits.
On February 21, 2018, Company appealed the ALJ's decision
to the DWD's Review Board. The Review Board did not
conduct a hearing and did not consider any evidence not
admitted by the ALJ. On March 12, 2018, the Review Board
affirmed the ALJ's decision, adopting and ...