Knox v. Just Like Familee II, Inc., 101713 OHCP, CV 12 787228

Docket Nº:CV 12 787228
Opinion Judge:John P. O'Donnell, J.
Party Name:ANGELA D. KNOX, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JUST LIKE FAMILEE II, INC., et al., Defendant-Appellant
Case Date:October 17, 2013
Court:Court of Common Pleas of Ohio
 
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ANGELA D. KNOX, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

JUST LIKE FAMILEE II, INC., et al., Defendant-Appellant

No. CV 12 787228

Court of Common Pleas of Ohio, Cuyahoga

October 17, 2013

JOURNAL ENTRY

John P. O'Donnell, J.

This case is an appeal by defendant Just Like Familee II, Inc., from the Ohio unemployment compensation review commission's decision that Angela Knox was terminated from her employment without just cause.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Angela Knox was employed as a home health aide by Just Like Familee II, Inc., a home healthcare service provider employing nurses and aides to assist patients in their homes. Knox's employment began on July 16, 2008, and ended when she was terminated on February 24, 2012.

In 2007 Knox was convicted of a fifth degree felony theft offense. Knox claims that she disclosed this conviction to JLF when she was hired, 1 a claim that JLF disputes.2 JLF did perform a background check on Knox before she was hired and uncovered nothing to disqualify Knox from working at JLF.3

In July 2009, after she had been working for JLF for about a year, Knox got a letter from the United States Department of Health and Human Services informing her that she was " excluded from participation in any capacity in the Medicare, Medicaid, and all Federal health care programs" 4 for a period of five years due to her felony conviction. She did not tell JLF about the letter.

Throughout the course of Knox's employment, JLF periodically conducted additional background checks of Knox's eligibility to work in her hired role.5 On February 23, 2012, JLF submitted all of its employees' names to the Office of the Inspector General's exclusions website, and found out that Knox was ineligible to work for a provider of Medicare or Medicaid services because of the theft conviction. Knox was terminated on February 24, 2012.

Knox then applied for unemployment compensation benefits. On March 9, 2012, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services issued an initial determination that Knox was fired with just cause, and was thus ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. Knox appealed that decision, and it was affirmed by the director of the ODJFS. Knox appealed again, and the ODJFS transferred jurisdiction to the unemployment compensation review commission.

Commission hearing officer Leanne Colton then held a hearing. Knox and Juliet Bonner, a human resources representative for JLF, testified.

The hearing officer reversed the ODJFS and found that Knox was discharged without just cause because Knox had disclosed the theft conviction before being hired and " should not be disqualified from unemployment compensation benefits due to the employer's...

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