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Harper v. Idaho Department of Labor

Supreme Court of Idaho

November 1, 2016

BETTY S. HARPER, Claimant-Appellant,
v.
IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Respondent, and PHED INVESTMENTS, LTD. d/b/a SILVERSTONE INN AND SUITES, Employer.

         2016 Opinion No. 108

         Appeal from the Industrial Commission of the State of Idaho.

         The order of the Industrial Commission is affirmed.

          Betty S. Harper, Post Falls, submitted a brief in her behalf.

          Douglas A. Werth, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, submitted a brief on behalf of the Department of Labor.

          EISMANN, Justice.

         This is an appeal by a claimant for unemployment benefits from a decision and order of the Industrial Commission holding that she was not entitled to benefits because she was terminated for cause. We affirm the decision of the Commission.

         I.

         Factual Background.

         Betty S. Harper ("Claimant") was terminated from her employment with Phed Investments, Ltd. d/b/a Silverstone Inn and Suites ("Employer"), a hotel located in Post Falls, where she had been employed as a night auditor. She had worked at the same hotel for over ten years, during which time there had been several ownership and management changes. The most recent owner had acquired the property in February 2013.

         Until early May 2014, Claimant worked thirty-five or more hours per week. As a night auditor, her duties included reconciling the credit card batches from the day's business, accepting payment from customers as they checked in, inspecting rooms for damage before refunding a deposit of a customer checking out, conducting security checks, and ensuring that the coffee and breakfast area were prepared.

         In February 2014, Employer implemented a new computer-based system that handled reservations and credit card batches. After implementation of that system, Claimant's job performance declined. The manager noticed errors in Claimant's work on the days he came in for the morning shift to relieve her. He verbally counseled her, and she would acknowledge that she could do better. When her performance did not improve, Employer reduced her hours to three days a week and then to two days a week.

         On May 3, 2014, Claimant returned the deposit of a customer who was checking out without first inspecting the room. It was later discovered that the customer had smoked in the room. Claimant admitted the error.

         On June 7, 2014, Claimant did not settle the credit cards, which was part of her duties. She testified that the password to access the computer system had been changed, so she could not access it. Claimant's direct supervisor testified that Claimant could have called her, another night auditor, or the manager, or Claimant could have used an ...


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