Mahoney v. Dep't of Workforce Servs.

Citation2022 UT App 50
Decision Date14 April 2022
Docket Number20200884-CA
PartiesTimothy Mahoney, Petitioner, v. Department of Workforce Services and Troon Golf LLC, Respondents.
CourtCourt of Appeals of Utah

2022 UT App 50

Timothy Mahoney, Petitioner,
Department of Workforce Services and Troon Golf LLC, Respondents.

No. 20200884-CA

Court of Appeals of Utah

April 14, 2022

Original Proceeding in this Court

Timothy Mahoney, Petitioner Pro Se

Amanda B. McPeck, Attorney for Respondent Department of Workforce Services

Judge Jill M. Pohlman authored this Opinion, in which Judges Ryan M. Harris and Ryan D. Tenney concurred.


¶1 Timothy Mahoney seeks judicial review of a Workforce Appeals Board (the Board) decision denying him unemployment insurance benefits. Mahoney contends that the Board "ignored evidence and testimony," "assumed facts not in evidence," and "made conclusions that are contradictory to evidence and testimony." We set aside the Board's decision and instruct it to reconsider Mahoney's claim.



¶2 Mahoney was employed by Troon Golf LLC (Employer) as a general manager of its resort property in St. George, Utah. The property is made up of twenty-eight individual bungalows, with one bungalow functioning as a welcome center where guests check in. In March 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the welcome center was closed to outside guests and the resort instead provided contactless check-in and check-out. It also eliminated "same-day turnovers" so that "a sanitation worker [could] disinfect the bungalows before [the] housekeeping staff cleaned and prepared them for other customers."[2] This adjustment "lowered the risk of [the] housekeeping staff being exposed to the COVID-19 virus." During this time, Mahoney provided masks for himself and his co-workers, but "guests and owners were not required to wear masks." In addition, the


sanitation worker used "a Tyve[k] suit, gloves and a face shield" as well as a "disinfectant fogger."[3]

¶3 Near the end of May 2020, Employer instructed Mahoney to "return to same-day turnovers for rooms." Mahoney did not want to disinfect rooms "moments after" guests left, nor did he "want to have to order someone to do that." Mahoney claimed that as same-day turnovers increased, the responsibility for disinfecting rooms "would fall more and more on" him instead of the sanitation worker. Mahoney was concerned that these changes could unnecessarily expose him and his staff to COVID-19. He was also worried about contracting the disease and potentially infecting his wife, whose medical condition placed her at an increased risk of serious illness if she contracted COVID-19.

¶4 At the same time, Employer "insisted" that Mahoney reopen the welcome center. Accordingly, Mahoney worked to ensure that the welcome center "had all the proper precautions in place," like "[f]loor signage for social distancing" and the installation of plexiglass between the guests and the front-desk employee. However, Employer demanded that Mahoney open the welcome center to guests in June 2020, before those precautions were in place. Specifically, the plexiglass was not "in place when [Employer] insisted the welcome center be open" and there is no evidence in the record that the floor signage had arrived. Further, D.H., "the manager of the owner organization," entered the welcome center "on an almost daily basis," "refused


to wear a mask," and "failed to properly social distance." He also ignored Mahoney's request that when they were together he "step away and please wear a mask."

¶5 Mahoney was concerned about re-opening the welcome center because guests came "from all over the country including places that still had stay-at-home orders in effect and . . . places that were considered hot spots for COVID." He was also specifically concerned about D.H., who would not wear a mask or socially distance even after returning from traveling to a "high-risk area[]."

¶6 Although Mahoney did not tell Employer he was considering quitting, he expressed "extreme displeasure" and "strong objections" to reopening the welcome center and resuming same-day turnovers. Employer was not receptive to these concerns and moved forward with its plans. As a result, Mahoney quit and began looking for another job.

¶7 Following his resignation, Mahoney filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. The Utah Department of Workforce Services denied his claim, finding that Mahoney failed to "establish good cause for leaving." Mahoney appealed the denial and, after a hearing, [4] the denial was affirmed by an Administrative Law Judge (the ALJ). The ALJ determined that Mahoney had "not shown he faced an unpreventable harm by remaining at work, and ha[d] not met his burden of proving he had good cause to voluntarily end his employment." Further, the ALJ declined to award Mahoney benefits under the equity and good conscience standard because "[i]t was not reasonable or practical for [him] to quit his job to pursue employment where his risk of contracting COVID-19 would be the same or...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT