Agnone v. Hansen

Decision Date13 August 1974
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesStephanie AGNONE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Sigurd HANSEN, Director, State of California, Department of Human Resources Development; and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, Defendants and Respondents. Civ. 14246.

Lawrence L. Curtice and David C. Moon, San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, San Francisco, for plaintiff and appellant.

Evelle J. Younger, Atty. Gen. by N. Eugene Hill and Edmund E. White, Deputy Attys. Gen., Sacramento, for defendants and respondents.

PUGLIA, Associate Justice.

This appeal is taken from the denial by the superior court of a petition for writ of mandate seeking to compel the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board ('Board') to grant unemployment compensation benefits to the appellant, Stephanie Agnone (hereinafter 'plaintiff'). The issue determinative of this appeal is whether there is substantial evidence in the record to support the findings of the trial court. We hold that there is and will affirm the judgment accordingly.

Plaintiff was employed for three and one-half months as a housekeeper at an 18-bed nursing home owned and operated by Deane Stenzel ('employer'). It was plaintiff's responsibility to keep the place clean. Her duties included tasks customarily associated with housekeeping such as dusting, mopping and cleaning sinks and bathrooms. Although plaintiff was under the general supervision of Mrs. Stenzel, any of the nurses, orderlies, or other specialized employees had the authority to direct her to housekeeping tasks that required immediate attention.

On November 1, 1971, Dighero, an orderly, instructed plaintiff to clean a bathroom. 1 Plaintiff testified Dighero had been 'riding' her, treating her 'like a slave' and ordering her around. He repeatedly told her to clean the bathroom. Plaintiff responded that she knew what was to be done and would get it done when she got around to it. Dighero advised plaintiff that if she did not comply he would report her to Mrs. Stenzel. Plaintiff 'just couldn't take it any more.' In a loud voice, punctuated by profanity, plaintiff demanded that Dighero never threaten her again. Nothing more was said by Dighero. About five minutes thereafter plaintiff did clean the bathroom.

Mrs. Stenzel was advised of the altercation and discharged plaintiff later that day for neglecting her work and causing dissension.

Mrs. Stenzel testified that if plaintiff's work had been satisfactory, she would have interceded and settled the difficulty between plaintiff and Dighero and plaintiff would still be working as a housekeeper. Since her work was not satisfactory, however, Mrs. Stenzel thought it not worthwhile to continue her employment. Mrs. Stenzel further testified that she had received many complaints from the staff about plaintiff's reluctance to take orders and that she was noisy; that she had observed her reading on duty and sleeping on duty; that she had cautioned her 'many times' that she must keep the place clean throughout and had told her on 'many occasions' that the work was not being performed to her satisfaction; that she constantly had to tell her what to do; that plaintiff had promised to do better and would, when told, do as she was asked but would shirk her responsibilities when nobody was there to direct her. Mrs. Stenzel added that she kept plaintiff on for over three months because she though she could train her but as it turned out she was 'too self-willed.'

Plaintiff testified that she got along well with the patients and the other employees and that she did not neglect her duties. She admitted to reading on duty 'a couple of times.' She stated she recalled only two occasions when she had been warned about the performance of her work.

In reviewing a decision of the board, the superior court exercises its independent judgment on the evidentiary record of the administrative proceedings and inquires whether the administrative agency's findings are supported by the weight of the evidence. (Lacy v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1971) 17 Cal.App.3d 1128, 1132, 95 Cal.Rptr. 566.) Here the trial court found the discharge of plaintiff proper on the ground of wilful misconduct and further found the decision of the board supported by the preponderance of the evidence. On review of the judgment the appellate court is confined to an inquiry whether the findings and judgment of the trial court are supported by substantial, credible and competent evidence (Warriner v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1973) 32 Cal.App.3d 353, 358, 108 Cal.Rptr. 153; Lacy v. California Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd., supra, at 1134, 95 Cal.Rptr. 566), unless the probative facts are uncontradicted, not susceptible of opposing inferences, and, as a matter of law, compel a different conclusion from that reached by the trial court. (Lacy v. California Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd., supra, at 1134, 95 Cal.Rptr. 566; General Motors Corp. v. California Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd. (1967) 253 Cal.App.2d 540, 545, 61 Cal.Rptr. 483.)

As indicated heretofore, the evidence relative...

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15 cases
  • Interstate Brands v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd.
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • 10 Abril 1980
    ...line involving employer-initiated judicial review). (Id., 25 Cal.App.3d at p. 203, 101 Cal.Rptr. 660; see also Agone v. Hansen (1974) 41 Cal.App.3d 524, 527, 116 Cal.Rptr. 122; Young v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd., supra, 37 Cal.App.3d 606, 609, 112 Cal.Rptr. 460.)5 The relationship betwe......
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    ...without good cause.' The functions of the various tribunals involved in litigation of this type were summarized in Agnone v. Hansen (1974) 41 Cal.App.3d 524, 116 Cal.Rptr. 122: 'In reviewing a decision of the board, the superior court exercises its independent judgment on the evidentiary re......
  • Coleman v. Department of Personnel Admin. (Department of General Services)
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    ...and competent evidence. (Bixby v. Pierno (1971) 4 Cal.3d 130, 143, fn. 10, 93 Cal.Rptr. 234, 481 P.2d 242; Agnone v. Hansen (1974) 41 Cal.App.3d 524, 527, 116 Cal.Rptr. 122.) To the extent that the evidence adduced at the administrative hearing is reasonably susceptible to two or more confl......
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