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Christy v. Produce

Supreme Court of Idaho

May 31, 2017

JIMMY L. CHRISTY JR., Claimant-Appellant,
v.
GRASMICK PRODUCE, Employer, CONSOLIDATED ELECTRICAL, Employer, MR. MUDD CONCRETE CORPORATION, Major Base Employer, IDAHO STATE PENITENTIARY, Cost Reimbursement Employer, Employers-Respondents, and IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Respondent.

         2017 Opinion No. 55

         Appeal from the Industrial Commission.

         The decision of the Industrial Commission is affirmed.

          Law Office of D. Blair Clark, PC, Boise, for appellant. D. Blair Clark argued.

          Honorable Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Douglas Werth argued.

          BRODY, Justice.

         Claimant appeals the decision of the Idaho Industrial Commission that found him ineligible for unemployment benefits based upon a willful underreporting of earnings to the Idaho Department of Labor.

         I.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Jimmy Christy filed an application for unemployment benefits in December 2014. Christy visited the Idaho Department of Labor ("IDOL") for assistance with the website application. Christy was shown an informational PowerPoint slideshow to assist applicants during the filing process.

         After he applied for benefits, Christy worked part-time for Grasmick Produce. He worked for Grasmick from January 2015 until the end of March. Christy also worked for Consolidated Electrical in March. Christy testified that he was uncertain about how to report his earnings so he visited a local IDOL office where an employee told him to "report what he gets." Christy asserts that this is why he reported his net earnings.

         IDOL conducts cross-match audits on a quarterly basis. A cross-match audit involves comparing earnings reported by employers with the filings submitted by the employee. In this case, IDOL received earnings information from Grasmick Produce and Consolidated Electrical to cross-match Christy's reported earnings. IDOL found that the reports filed by the employers did not match Christy's reports. IDOL mailed Christy a letter to the address the department had on record asking him to explain the discrepancy. IDOL requested a response by June 5, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. Christy did not respond to the letter.

         IDOL subsequently found that Christy willfully misrepresented his weekly earnings. On June 24, 2015, IDOL mailed Christy its determination of ineligibility, which set forth overpayment amounts and imposed civil penalties. Christy appealed the determination.

         A telephonic hearing before an appeals examiner was held on July 28, 2015. During the hearing, Christy argued that he had reported the net earnings from his jobs and that his net earnings were based on a different workweek than that used by IDOL. The appeals examiner suggested, and the parties stipulated, to vacate IDOL's ...


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