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03/14/94 JUDITH N. LAUNDRY v. FRANCISCAN HEALTH

Filed: March 14, 1994.

JUDITH N. LAUNDRY, SSN:5/ 536-42-XXXX, CLAIMANT-RESPONDENT,
v.
FRANCISCAN HEALTH CARE CENTER, EMPLOYER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND STATE OF IDAHO, DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



Appeal from the Industrial Commission of the State of Idaho. Appeal from an order of the Industrial Commission awarding claimant unemployment compensation. 1994 OPINION NO. 31

McDEVITT, Bistline, Trout, Silak, Johnson

Author: Mcdevitt

McDEVITT, C.J.

Appellant, Franciscan Health Care Center ("Franciscan"), appeals an order of the Industrial Commission awarding respondent, Judith N. Laundry ("Laundry"), unemployment benefits. Franciscan contends that Laundry is not entitled to any benefits because she voluntarily quit her job with Franciscan and failed to show good cause for refusing Franciscan's offer of alternative employment. The Commission found that Laundry was terminated, but not for misconduct, and that Franciscan failed to adequately show that it offered Laundry alternative employment. We reverse.

BACKGROUND

Laundry worked for appellant Franciscan as the Director of Nursing from June 5, 1985 until August 7, 1991. Observing that Laundry was having difficulty supervising the employees under her direction, Laundry's supervisor, Nani Spohn ("Spohn"), attempted unsuccessfully on several occasions to help Laundry rectify the situation. Spohn did not feel that Laundry intentionally performed poorly, but simply lacked the ability to do better. Spohn met with Laundry on July 6, 1991, to discuss Spohn's concern over Laundry's poor supervisory skills. At the meeting, Spohn suggested that Laundry take a position as a staff nurse. Laundry refused. Subsequently, on August 7, 1991, Spohn met with Laundry and informed her that she would no longer be the Director of Nursing and that, following a three week vacation, Laundry was to return as a staff nurse. Laundry became upset and left the meeting, asking for a written explanation of the terms of her discharge. Spohn immediately executed the written notice, which notice did not contain the offer of a staff nursing position. Nor did Spohn discuss the particulars of the offer of a staff nurse position with Laundry before Laundry left the meeting.

Laundry sought unemployment compensation from the Idaho Department of Employment following the termination of her employment as the Director of Nursing. Franciscan opposed any payment of compensation. After conducting a telephonic hearing on the matter, the claims examiner denied Laundry's claim on September 4, 1991. Following a reexamination of the claim by another claims examiner who also denied the claim, Laundry appealed the claim to an appeals examiner. The appeals examiner also denied the claim on November 8, 1991, finding that Laundry had been discharged, not for misconduct, but had failed, without good cause, to accept suitable available employment. On appeal, the Commission, without an additional hearing, affirmed the appeals examiner's decision as to the misconduct issue, but reversed the decision as to the alternative suitable employment issue. The Commission, in its decision dated September 10, 1992, ruled that Laundry was eligible for unemployment benefits. Franciscan appeals the order of the Commission.

This Court addresses the following issues on appeal:

I.

Whether the Commission erred in ruling that Laundry was involuntarily terminated, but not for misconduct, as the Director of Nursing at Franciscan.

II.

Whether the Commission erred in ruling that Laundry was not offered alternative employment.

III.

Whether Laundry is entitled to attorney ...


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