General Elec. Co. v. Review Bd. of Indiana Employment Sec. Division

Decision Date05 August 1959
Docket NumberNo. 2,No. 19258,19258,2
PartiesGENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, Appellant, v. REVIEW BOARD OF INDIANA EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIVISION, William S. McMaster, William G. Johnson, and John M. Harrigan, as Members of and as Constituting the Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division; and Edwina E. Wendholt, Appellees
CourtIndiana Appellate Court

George P. Ryan, Alan T. Nolan, Ross, McCord, Ice & Miller, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Edwin K. Steers, Atty. Gen., Keith Campbell, Robert W. McNevin, Deputy Attys. Gen., for appellees.

SMITH, Judge.

This is an appeal by the General Electric Company from a decision of the Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division. Although this appeal is concerned solely with a procedural question, it arises out of a dispute as to the status of an employee of the appellant under the Indiana Employment Security Act. Such employee and the Review Board appear herein as appellees.

The claimant-appellee, Edwina E. Wendholt, was first employed by the appellant on August 17, 1953. On May 2, 1958, claimant-appellee voluntarily quit her employment, giving as her reason for quitting the fact that she was unable to secure the services of a 'bady sitter' to care for her child.

On May 23, 1958, three weeks following the date on which claimant-appellee voluntarily quit her employment, the Vincennes Claims Deputy of the Indiana Employment Security Division ruled, in an ex parte proceeding, that the claimant-appellee had quit her employment voluntarily 'but with good cause, due to the loss of her baby sitter.' At the same time, the Claims Deputy ruled that the claimant-appellee was not available for suitable work under the provisions of the Indiana Employment Security Act. Accordingly, in this ex parte stage of the proceedings, the Claims Deputy denied immediate benefits to the claimant-appellee because she was unavailable for work. However by such ruling, he left appellant's compensation fund subject to later charges as a result of claimant-appellee's unemployment by not imposing any disqualification upon her as a result of her quitting her employment.

Following the determination of the Claims Deputy and because that determination did not impose any disqualification on the claimant-appellee, the appellant duly requested a hearing before a Referee of the Indiana Employment Security Division. In its request for hearing, appellant contended that the Claims Deputy had erred in his decision that claimant-appellee had voluntarily quit her employment with good cause, and affirmatively contended that claimant-appellee's quitting was without good cause.

On June 20, 1958, and without any decision on the merits by the Referee, the appellant's appeal to the Referee was dismissed by the Referee on the ground that the appellant 'did not suffer any loss as a result of the (Claims) Deputy's determination' and was without capacity to appeal from the Claims Deputy to the Referee. In substance the Referee's ultimate decision was that the '(Claims) Deputy's determination is final.'

Following the decision of the Referee, appellant duly filed its appeal to the Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division. Under date of August 27, 1958, and following oral presentation to the Review Board, the appeal to the Review Board was dismissed on the ground that appellant did not have the capacity to appeal from the Referee to the Review Board. Accordingly, the Review Board in substance affirmed the Referee's ruling that appellant was without capacity to appeal from the Claims Deputy to the Referee.

As the result of the foregoing history of this case, it appears that the only consideration of the merits of this case has been the ex parte consideration of the Claims Deputy. The appellant contends that it has been denied the right to an appeal on the merits from that ex parte determination to the Referee. The primary issue to be decided by this appeal is whether or not the law provides the appellant a right to review before the Referee of an ex parte decision on the merits made by the Claims Deputy; and incidentally involved are the separate questions of appellant's right to appeal from the Referee to the Review Board and from the Review Board to this Court.

The appellant's assignment of errors has one specification, namely: That the decision of the Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division in proceedings below is contrary to law.

The appellant urges that it had a statutory right to appeal from the Claims Deputy to the Referee; that it had a separate statutory right to appeal from the Referee to the Review Board because appellant was adversely affected by the Referee's decision in that the Referee by his ruling deprived appellant of its statutory right to appeal from the Claims Deputy to the Referee and deprived appellant of the protection of its contribution fund; and finally, the appellant contends that it has a separate statutory right to appeal to this Court because it was a party before the Review Board and was prejudiced by the Review Board's action in that the appellant was again deprived of its statutory right to appeal from the Claims Deputy to the Referee and was again deprived of the protection of its contribution fund.

In accordance with its fundamental legislative purpose of providing benefits for persons 'unemployed through no fault of their own,' the Indiana Employment Security Act contains a series of conditions and disqualifications for eligibility. See, § 52-1525 et seq., Burns' 1951 Repl. These conditions and disqualifications operate in a given case to determine the benefit status of a particular unemployed person.

As related to the case at bar, two of the statutory conditions and disqualifications are involved in two sections of the Indiana Employment Security Act. One section concerns employees who voluntarily quit their employment without good cause and the other section concerns employees who are unavailable for work.

The first section involved is § 52-1539 Burns' 1951 Repl. (1957 Supplement) which reads as follows:

'An individual shall be ineligible for waiting period or benefit rights: For the week in which he has left work voluntarily without good cause * * * and for all weeks subsequent thereto until such individual has thereafter earned remuneration equal to not less than ten (10) times his weekly benefit amount in employment * * *.'

Under the provisions of this section, if an employee leaves work voluntarily with good cause, he is immediately eligible for benefits. However, if an employee leaves work voluntarily without good cause, benefits are denied that employee until he has earned remuneration equal to at least 'ten times his weekly benefit' amount.

The second section involved is § 52-1538b Burns' 1951 Repl. (1957 Supplement) which reads as follows:

'An unemployed individual shall be eligible to receive benefits with respect to any week only if: He is * * * available for work * * *.'

Under the provisions of this section, regardless of whether an employee has quit his employment with or without good cause, he cannot be paid benefits unless he is available for work within the meaning of this section.

As indicated by the existence of the two above quoted sections of the Indiana Employment Security Act, in a given case the status of an employee is required to be determined with reference to the inter play of said two sections. Thus, an employee who is unavailable for work within the meaning of § 52-1538b is not entitled to the payment of benefits during the period of such unavailability. However, when such an employee again becomes available for work, his eligibility for benefits depends on whether he quit his last job with or without good cause under the provisions of § 52-1539. In a given case inquiry must be made as to the status of the employee under both sections of the act above quoted in order to determine the status of that employee.

The appellant contends that basically the Indiana Employment Security Act is a taxing statute. That it imposes a tax, referred to in the act as 'contributions,' on employers subject to its terms, and that from these 'contributions' unemployment benefits are paid to employees who lose their employment and who meet the statute's conditions of eligibility for benefits. See §§ 52-1534 and 52-1536a Burns' 1951 Repl. (1957 Supplement). From an examination of the Indiana Employment Security Act in its entirety, it appears to us that this contention of the appellant is well taken and is a logical interpretation of the effect of the Act. The significant factor concerning an employer's contributions is that the amounts thereof are not static. An 'experience rating' system is provided in the Act under which, depending upon an employer's benefit experience, reduced contribution rates result for that employer; and, since benefits paid to an employee are charged against the experience account of that individual's employer, the employer's future contribution rate is affected by the extent to which benefits are paid to said employee. See, § 52-1535b Burns' 1951 Repl. (1957 Supplement). Thus, for example, an employee who is unavailable for work is not entitled to the immediate payment of unemployment compensation because of such unavailability. This protects his employer's experience account and prevents an increase in his employer's contribution rate. Similarly, when such employee again becomes available for work, whether or not he is at once eligible for benefits depends upon whether or not he quit his prior employment with or without good cause. It is, therefore, our conclusion that, accordingly, just as an employer's experience and contribution rate is affected by an employee's unavailability for work, so an employer's experience and contribution level is affected by whether or not that employee quit his employment with or without good cause.

Because this...

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  • Coleman v. Target Stores
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • November 28, 1983
    ..."interested party" with a right to appeal a denial or award of benefits. 1 General Electric Co. v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division (1959), 129 Ind.App. 684, 692-97, 160 N.E.2d 208, 213-14. Rule 1 reads in pertinent "640 IAC 1-11-1 Request for hearing before a refere......

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