Gratzfeld v. Bomgaars Supply, No. 14918

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtMORGAN; FOSHEIM, C.J., and HERTZ; SABERS; HENDERSON
Citation391 N.W.2d 200
PartiesBarbara GRATZFELD, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. BOMGAARS SUPPLY, Defendant and Appellee. . Considered on Briefs
Decision Date24 October 1985
Docket NumberNo. 14918

Page 200

391 N.W.2d 200
Barbara GRATZFELD, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
BOMGAARS SUPPLY, Defendant and Appellee.
No. 14918.
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
Considered on Briefs Oct. 24, 1985.
Decided July 24, 1986.

Bill Froke of East River Legal Services Corp., Sioux Falls, for plaintiff and appellant.

Craig A. Kennedy of Doyle & Kennedy, Yankton, for defendant and appellee.

MORGAN, Justice (on reassignment).

Appellant Barbara Gratzfeld (Gratzfeld) appeals from a circuit court judgment which affirmed the denial of unemployment compensation benefits by the Secretary of Labor. We reverse.

Gratzfeld was employed as a cashier for Bomgaars Supply (Bomgaars) in Yankton, South Dakota. Bomgaars had an unwritten policy which allowed employees to charge items for a short period of time. There was an unwritten procedure that was to be followed for each charge, but Gratzfeld failed to follow that procedure. Her termination did not stem from her failure to follow the procedure, but, rather, because she did not repay her charges within the time requested.

On February 17, 1984, a Bomgaars assistant manager discovered five charge slips that were not properly filled out according to the unwritten charging procedure. The assistant manager informed all store employees that all items on those charge slips were to be paid by closing time, 8:00 p.m., that evening. Gratzfeld arrived at work at approximately 12:00 noon that same day and was also informed of the assistant manager's statement. The five charge slips totaled $113.25.

At the close of the day, Gratzfeld paid $100.00 in cash on these charge slips. On her way out, she also mentioned to the assistant manager that she did not have the money to fully pay for the charge slips but would return the next day to do so. Apparently the assistant manager, who was busy, did not hear her.

Gratzfeld failed to return the next day to remit the $13.25 still owing on the charge slips. In the intervening time, the weather had turned and she was unable to reach Yankton from her rural home. Gratzfeld failed to make arrangements for paying the remaining charges during the next two days. Gratzfeld's next scheduled work day was February 21, 1984. Gratzfeld began working at 8:00 a.m. but did not contact anyone in the store management about paying the remaining $13.25. At approximately 10:00 a.m., the Bomgaars manager called Gratzfeld into his office and discharged her for failing to pay for the merchandise as directed on February 17, 1984. Gratzfeld then left the store only to return

Page 202

a short time later to pay the remainder owed on the charge slips.

Gratzfeld applied for unemployment insurance benefits and was originally awarded those benefits. Bomgaars appealed and the appeals referee reversed, holding that Gratzfeld was ineligible for benefits since she failed to pay for the charged merchandise as ordered. This failure, in his judgment, constituted work-connected misconduct. This determination was upheld on appeals by Gratzfeld to the Secretary of Labor and to the circuit court.

Bomgaars initially asserts that this court lacks jurisdiction to hear this appeal. Although Bomgaars argued the jurisdiction issue before the circuit court, * it has not complied with the notice of review requirements contained within SDCL 15-26A-22. As a result, Bomgaars has waived this nonfatal jurisdiction issue and this court will not consider it. See State v. Holland, 346 N.W.2d 302, 306 (S.D.1984); Application of Northwestern Bell Tel. Co., 326 N.W.2d 100, 104 (S.D.1982); Gridley v. Engelhart, 322 N.W.2d 3, 5-6 (S.D.1982).

The only perfected issue on appeal is: Whether Gratzfeld's actions constituted misconduct disqualifying her from unemployment benefits?

The decision of an administrative agency will be upheld on appeal unless its decision is clearly erroneous in light of the entire record. SDCL 1-26-36(5). Stated another way, the decision must be upheld unless we are left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. See Dakota Harvestore Systems, Inc. v. South Dakota Dep't. of Revenue, 331 N.W.2d 828, 830 (S.D.1983); Fraser v. Water Rights Commission, 294 N.W.2d 784, 788 (S.D.1980). Although the appeals referee and the circuit court cited the correct authority to define misconduct, Matter of Yaroch, 333 N.W.2d 448 (S.D.1983), we hold that they clearly erred in concluding that misconduct was established by the evidence in this case.

It is clear from a review of the unemployment compensation hearing before the appeals referee that Gratzfeld was fired because she could not pay the $13.25 balance still owing on her charge slips. The appeals referee specifically asked: "Had the claimant paid for the merchandise as you had requested, by 8:00 [p.m.] on the 17th of February, would you have allowed her to continue in the employment?" The store manager replied: "Yes sir. It would have been no problem." Gratzfeld paid $100.00 of the outstanding $113.25 balance prior to leaving on February 17, 1984.

In Yaroch, the employee disregarded a series of at least six " 'harsh ... full-force commands ... to pick up the work.' " 333 N.W.2d at 450. In another recent case involving unemployment compensation, Matter of Lorraine Johnson, 338 N.W.2d 453 (S.D.1983), the employee refused to undertake a work task assigned through a rotation system. We do not find Gratzfeld's conduct demonstrated the willful and wanton disregard of an employer's interest as set forth in Yaroch and evidenced in Johnson. Her conduct was an isolated incident, not related in any way to her job performance. It must also be noted that unemployment compensation statutes should be liberally construed in favor of the claimant. See Red Bird v. Meierhenry, 314 N.W.2d 95, 96 (S.D.1982). Gratzfeld complied as best...

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7 practice notes
  • Lewis v. Gatson, No. 18704
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • June 8, 1989
    ...Steffy v. Commissioner, Unemployment Compensation Bd. of Review, 499 Pa. 367, 453 A.2d 591 (1982); Gratzfeld v. Bomgaars Supply, 391 N.W.2d 200 (S.D.1986); Shufelt v. Department of Employment & Training, 148 Vt. 163, 531 A.2d 894 (1987). 9 Davis appears to resolve the issue under a &quo......
  • State v. Blackburn, No. 24897.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • May 13, 2009
    ...results in a waiver." A.L.S. Props., Silver Glen v. Graen, 465 N.W.2d 783, 787 (S.D.1991) (citing Gratzfeld v. Bomgaars Supply, 391 N.W.2d 200 (S.D. 1986); Rowett v. McFarland, 394 N.W.2d 298 (S.D.1986); Application of Northwestern Bell Tel. Co., 326 N.W.2d 100 (S.D. 1982)). Therefore,......
  • Permann v. South Dakota Dept. of Labor, Unemployment Ins. Div., No. 15390
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • April 21, 1987
    ...seem to indicate, however, that the entire decision is reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard. Gratzfeld v. Bomgaars Supply, 391 N.W.2d 200 (S.D.1986); Application of Koch Exploration Co., 387 N.W.2d 530 (S.D.1986); Raml v. Jenkins Methodist Home, 381 N.W.2d 241 (S.D.1986); Applicati......
  • Rowett v. McFarland, No. 15061
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • November 4, 1986
    ...requirements for notice of review results in a waiver of the issues, and this court will not consider them. Gratzfeld v. Bomgaars Supply, 391 N.W.2d 200, 202 (S.D.1986). See also: State v. Holland, 346 N.W.2d 302, 306 (S.D.1984); Application of Northwestern Bell Telephone Page 309 Company, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Lewis v. Gatson, No. 18704
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • June 8, 1989
    ...Steffy v. Commissioner, Unemployment Compensation Bd. of Review, 499 Pa. 367, 453 A.2d 591 (1982); Gratzfeld v. Bomgaars Supply, 391 N.W.2d 200 (S.D.1986); Shufelt v. Department of Employment & Training, 148 Vt. 163, 531 A.2d 894 (1987). 9 Davis appears to resolve the issue under a &quo......
  • State v. Blackburn, No. 24897.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • May 13, 2009
    ...results in a waiver." A.L.S. Props., Silver Glen v. Graen, 465 N.W.2d 783, 787 (S.D.1991) (citing Gratzfeld v. Bomgaars Supply, 391 N.W.2d 200 (S.D. 1986); Rowett v. McFarland, 394 N.W.2d 298 (S.D.1986); Application of Northwestern Bell Tel. Co., 326 N.W.2d 100 (S.D. 1982)). Therefore,......
  • Permann v. South Dakota Dept. of Labor, Unemployment Ins. Div., No. 15390
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • April 21, 1987
    ...seem to indicate, however, that the entire decision is reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard. Gratzfeld v. Bomgaars Supply, 391 N.W.2d 200 (S.D.1986); Application of Koch Exploration Co., 387 N.W.2d 530 (S.D.1986); Raml v. Jenkins Methodist Home, 381 N.W.2d 241 (S.D.1986); Applicati......
  • Rowett v. McFarland, No. 15061
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • November 4, 1986
    ...requirements for notice of review results in a waiver of the issues, and this court will not consider them. Gratzfeld v. Bomgaars Supply, 391 N.W.2d 200, 202 (S.D.1986). See also: State v. Holland, 346 N.W.2d 302, 306 (S.D.1984); Application of Northwestern Bell Telephone Page 309 Company, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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