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Phillips v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act

Appellate Court of Connecticut

May 19, 2015

ELBA PHILLIPS
v.
ADMINISTRATOR, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION ACT ET AL

Argued January 22, 2015.

Appeal from the decision of the Employment Security Board of Review affirming the determination by an appeals referee that the plaintiff was not entitled to certain unemployment compensation benefits, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where the court, Schuman, J., granted the named defendant's motion for judgment and rendered judgment dismissing the appeal, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court.

SYLLABUS

The plaintiff, who had been discharged from her employment for falsifying the records of her employer, appealed to the trial court from the decision of the Employment Security Board of Review affirming the determination by an appeals referee that the plaintiff was not entitled to certain unemployment compensation benefits. The plaintiff had filed an application for unemployment compensation benefits that initially was approved by an adjudicator for the defendant Administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Act. The defendant employer C. Co. appealed from that decision, and the appeals referee determined that because the plaintiff had been terminated from her employment for wilful misconduct, she was ineligible for benefits pursuant to statute (§ 31-236 [a] [B]). The referee found that the plaintiff, a substance abuse counselor, had scheduled a one hour group therapy session and recorded on the record of each participant that the session had lasted one hour, but it had in fact lasted approximately thirty minutes. The referee further found that the plaintiff knew that the record was false when she made it. The referee stated that the intentional falsification of attendance or production work records constituted deliberate misconduct, regardless of whether the plaintiff was motivated by her intent to obtain pay for work that was not performed. The board affirmed the decision of the referee, and thereafter denied the plaintiff's motion to open the record, from which the plaintiff appealed to the trial court. The trial court granted the administrator's motion for judgment and rendered judgment dismissing the appeal, and the plaintiff appealed to this court. The plaintiff claimed in her appeal to this court, as she did to the board, that the referee improperly employed a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof rather than a clear and convincing standard of proof when the referee determined that the plaintiff had falsified the records. Held that the plaintiff did not demonstrate by means of legal analysis that the board had acted unreasonably, arbitrarily, illogically, or in abuse of its discretion; furthermore, although the plaintiff presented in her brief to this court her version of the facts and certain documents in support thereof, this court would not make factual or credibility determinations.

Elba Phillips, self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).

Maria C. Rodriquez, assistant attorney general, with whom, on the brief, were George Jepsen, attorney general, and Philip M. Schulz, assistant attorney general, for the appellee (named defendant).

Lavine, Mullins and Schaller, Js. LAVINE, J. In this opinion the other judges concurred.

OPINION

Page 1163

[157 Conn.App. 343] LAVINE, J.

In this appeal, the plaintiff, Elba Phillips, challenges the determination that she is not eligible for unemployment compensation benefits due to the finding that she was dismissed from employment on the basis of deliberate misconduct in the course of her employment. The plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendants, the Administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Act (administrator), Community Substance Abuse Centers, Inc. (employer), and the Employment Security Appeals Division--Board of Review (board).[1] On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly granted the administrator's motion for judgment on the basis of the certified record. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

[157 Conn.App. 344] The plaintiff was discharged from her employment on February 29, 2012, for allegedly falsifying the records of her employer. She filed an application for unemployment

Page 1164

benefits, which was granted by an unemployment adjudicator, who found that the plaintiff had been discharged for reasons that did not constitute wilful misconduct.[2] The employer appealed.

The appeal was heard by a referee on May 2, 2012. The plaintiff represented herself at the hearing. The referee made the following findings of fact. The plaintiff had been employed as a counselor from June 11, 2001, until February 29, 2012. Her duties required her to conduct weekly one hour group therapy sessions and she was to record electronically the time of the weekly group session on each participant's record. The employer relied on those records for billing purposes. On June ...


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