Salt Creek Freightways v. Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Commission, No. 4960

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtBefore RAPER, C. J., McCLINTOCK, THOMAS and ROSE, JJ., and GUTHRIE; GUTHRIE; ROSE, Justice, dissenting, with whom McCLINTOCK
Citation598 P.2d 435
Parties21 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 340, 20 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 30,208 SALT CREEK FREIGHTWAYS, Appellant (Petitioner below), v. WYOMING FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES COMMISSION and Kathleen Banyai, Appellees (Respondents below).
Decision Date07 August 1979
Docket NumberNo. 4960

Page 435

598 P.2d 435
21 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 340,
20 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 30,208
SALT CREEK FREIGHTWAYS, Appellant (Petitioner below),
v.
WYOMING FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES COMMISSION and Kathleen Banyai, Appellees (Respondents below).
No. 4960.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
Aug. 7, 1979.

Richard E. Day and Richard L. Williams of Wehrli & Williams, Casper, for appellant.

Gerald A. Stack, Deputy Atty. Gen. and Thomas C. Bogus, Asst. Atty. Gen., Cheyenne, for Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Commission, appellee.

Paul J. Hickey of Rooney, Horiskey, Bagley & Hickey, Cheyenne, for Kathleen Banyai, appellee.

Before RAPER, C. J., McCLINTOCK, THOMAS and ROSE, JJ., and GUTHRIE, J., Retired. **

GUTHRIE, Justice.

Salt Creek Freightways, as appellant, pursues this appeal from a judgment of the district court of Natrona County, which affirmed an order of the Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Commission, 1 an appellee herein. This order found that Salt Creek had been guilty of discrimination when it discharged Kathleen Banyai, an appellee, because of her religious creed and beliefs. Based upon this finding, the Commission ordered Salt Creek to pay $950.40 in wages and the sum of $2,847.75 as attorney's fees.

Although we refer to the Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Commission, by statute the commission is denominated the Wyoming Fair Employment Commission. Throughout the proceedings below, F.E.P.C. was used, as was also done in all proceedings in this court. We shall use the denomination F.E.P.C. for the sake of consistency but note that in current practice the F.E.P.C. is called Wyoming Fair Employment Commission (W.F.E.C.).

Throughout this opinion, for the sake of brevity, Salt Creek Freightways will be described as Salt Creek. The Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Commission will be designated as the F.E.P.C., appellee-Kathleen Banyai will be described as Banyai, and the Employment Security Commission will be described as E.S.C.

Banyai was employed by Salt Creek on January 7, 1974. At the time of her employment, she received a handbook, which

Page 436

set out the working rules and conditions and the policy governing vacations, sick leave, and leaves of absence. Banyai does not claim that she was unfamiliar with these and concedes that she understood that she was entitled to a one-week vacation after being employed for one year. These rules further provided for a maximum of six-days paid sick leave, if necessary, because of sickness, and the provision for personal leave of absence without pay, upon written application, which was not to be granted "except for various, significant reasons."

After her original employment, she joined the World Wide Church of God and became a baptized member in August of 1974. There is no suggestion that during her employment she had not properly performed her work up to the time of discharge, although she had been absent from work for over 105 hours between the date of her employment and September 26. During the summer months, she learned that members of her church were supposed to attend a convocation in California sometime late in September or early October. On September 12, she requested a leave of absence from her supervisor, Mr. Klone, for a Holy Day observance on September 17. The supervisor at that time told her that she had been taking a lot of time off, but granted her permission to be absent on that day. It was during this conversation that she advised him of her intention to attend the church convocation in California beginning September 26 to and until October 10. This was the first time that her employer learned of her church affiliation. The supervisor at that time told her that he would not let her go because there was no one available to handle her work, and he had too short a notice to train someone else. This was followed by a letter on September 20, which detailed the reasons for the denial of her application with a comment upon her absenteeism. The letter did confirm permission to take September 17 off. In various conversations during this interim, Banyai reiterated her intention to be absent from her work from September 26 to October 10, to attend the convocation, although she was told she would be terminated if she did so because of the hardship upon her fellow employees. Her minister advised her against terminating employment. However, she did absent herself for this period and attended the convocation. Salt Creek discharged appellee as of September 25 because of her absence.

After her discharge, Banyai filed a claim with the E.S.C. for benefits by way of unemployment compensation from September 27. A deputy of that commission determined that she was not entitled thereto, because her discharge by Salt Creek was properly based upon her misconduct. Banyai then pursued her appeal from that deputy's determination and was granted and received a full hearing before the appeals examiner. After a full hearing thereon, the appeals examiner, acting for the commission, reversed the decision of the deputy insofar as he found that the discharge was based upon her "misconduct connected with her work."

The E.S.C. order found that "for having voluntarily left her most recent employment Without good cause, the claimant is disqualified from October 13th, 1974, through February 15th, 1975." (Emphasis added.) This decision was rendered on December 4th, 1974, and appellee did not appeal this ruling as was her right under § 27-27 D VII, W.S.1957 (now designated as § 27-3-107(d)(vii), W.S.1977.

On October 15, 1974, she had filed a verified complaint with the F.E.P.C. No further action is reflected thereon until February 19, 1975, when an order and decision of the commission recites that a determination had been made that there was probable cause to believe that the respondent had violated § 27- 261(1), W.S.1957 (now designated as § 27-9-105(a)(i), W.S.1977). This order further recites that as a result of the investigation conducted pursuant to their rules of practice and procedure that a settlement agreement was offered to respondent and complainant by the director of the commission. The respondent refused to sign the same. We are in the dark as to the terms of this agreement.

Page 437

On March 27, 1975, Salt Creek filed their answer to Banyai's complaint, which was served upon the commission and received March 31, 1975. This was set for hearing on May 6, 1975. There was an order and decision entered by the commission adverse to this appellant dated July 11, 1975, and in pursuit of an appeal by appellant, the court remanded this matter and entered an order permitting Salt Creek to present additional evidence to the F.E.P.C., as follows:

(1) The decision and order of the appeals examiner of the E.S.C.;

(2) An order of the E.S.C. itself;

(3) The appeal of the said Banyai; and

(4) The transcript of the proceedings of the hearing held before the appeals examiner, which was made a part of the record on appeal.

The court observed that before it could be in a position to review the said matter, this entire record including all this evidence should be presented to the F.E.P.C. and reviewed by them upon the entire record, and a decision be made therefrom.

Upon the remand of this matter to the F.E.P.C., hearing was had on January 6, 1977, with the same result, and the decision and order of March 28, 1977, noted that "the transcript of the evidence from the appeals examiner of the Employment Security Commission, the decision and order of the examiner, and the order of the Employment Security Commission were made a part of the evidence herein, and they were duly considered together with all other evidence in this matter by the commission."

Among the asserted errors urged by Salt Creek is the following:

"Failing to hold as a matter of law that the decision of the Wyoming Employment Security Commission that Banyai was not discriminated against on account of her religious practices is a bar to relitigation of that issue before the Wyoming Fair Employment Commission under the doctrine of Res judicata."

It is necessary to make disposal of this issue before giving consideration to any of the other asserted errors. If this contention is correct, there are no other matters which can properly be reached in resolution of this case.

At one time, there appears to have been considerable authority that Res judicata did not apply to administrative decisions. Davis, Administrative Law Treatise, § 18.02, p. 548 (1958). This was rapidly changed, and it is now almost universally recognized that the rule is to be applied to such decisions. Davis, Administrative Law Text, 3d Ed., § 18.02, p. 361.

Cases which hold that the doctrine of Res judicata or its principles are applicable to administrative decisions under certain conditions are: Morin v. J. H. Valliere, 113 N.H. 431, 309 A.2d 153, 155 (1973); Woodlawn Area Citizens Association v. Board of County Commissioners for Prince George's County, 241 Md. 187, 216 A.2d 149, 153 (1966); Retail Clerks Union, Local 1401, Retail Clerks International Association AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board, 149 U.S.App.D.C. 370, 376, 463 F.2d 316, 322 (1972); Harrah v. Richardson, 4th Cir., 446 F.2d 1, 2 (1971); State v. District Court, 259 Minn. 228, 107 N.W.2d 307, 310 (1960).

Although these authorities speak in terms of Res judicata, it might be suggested that they really recognize and apply Collateral estoppel to the field of administrative law. This is not entirely unusual as noticed by Chief Justice Warren in the footnote to Lawlor v. National Screen Service Corp., 349 U.S. 322, 326 (n. 6), 75 S.Ct. 865, 99 L.Ed. 1122 (1955), which calls attention to the fact that Restatement of the Law of Judgments, Ch. 3, §§ 47, 48, & 68 (1942), uses the term Res judicata broadly "to cover merger, bar, collateral estoppel, and direct estoppel."

Res judicata is primarily and originally a legal doctrine and is normally based upon the assertion and the...

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5 practice notes
  • Slavens v. Board of County Com'rs for Uinta County, No. 92-230
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • June 9, 1993
    ...to final adjudicative determinations by administrative tribunals. Salt Creek Freightways v. Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Comm'n, 598 P.2d 435, 437 (Wyo.1979). In fact, this court has noted that it is almost universally recognized that the two doctrines apply to adjudicative administrat......
  • Bresnahan v. May Dept. Stores Co., No. 68688
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • March 17, 1987
    ...Telephone Co., 62 N.Y.2d 494, 478 N.Y.S.2d 823, 467 N.E.2d 487 (1984). 3 Salt Creek Freightways v. Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Com., 598 P.2d 435 4 McClanahan v. Remington Freight Lines, Inc., 498 N.E.2d 1336 (Ind.App.1986); but see Cox v. Indiana Subcontractors Assoc., 441 N.E.2d 222......
  • Carson v. State, No. S–13–0144.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 31, 2014
    ...is more often appropriately used in an administrative setting. In Salt Creek Freightways [v. Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Comm'n, 598 P.2d 435, 437 (Wyo.1979) ], we noted that although many cases speak of res judicata in the administrative context, they actually apply collateral estopp......
  • Joelson v. City of Casper, Wyo., No. 83-173
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • February 3, 1984
    ...decision of an administrative board is final and conclusive. Salt Creek Freightways v. Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Commission, Wyo., 598 P.2d 435 (1979), citing Campbell v. Superior Court, In and For County of Mariposa, 18 Ariz.App. 287, 501 P.2d 463 The Ruling of the Board of Adjustm......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Slavens v. Board of County Com'rs for Uinta County, No. 92-230
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • June 9, 1993
    ...to final adjudicative determinations by administrative tribunals. Salt Creek Freightways v. Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Comm'n, 598 P.2d 435, 437 (Wyo.1979). In fact, this court has noted that it is almost universally recognized that the two doctrines apply to adjudicative administrat......
  • Bresnahan v. May Dept. Stores Co., No. 68688
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • March 17, 1987
    ...Telephone Co., 62 N.Y.2d 494, 478 N.Y.S.2d 823, 467 N.E.2d 487 (1984). 3 Salt Creek Freightways v. Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Com., 598 P.2d 435 4 McClanahan v. Remington Freight Lines, Inc., 498 N.E.2d 1336 (Ind.App.1986); but see Cox v. Indiana Subcontractors Assoc., 441 N.E.2d 222......
  • Carson v. State, No. S–13–0144.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 31, 2014
    ...is more often appropriately used in an administrative setting. In Salt Creek Freightways [v. Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Comm'n, 598 P.2d 435, 437 (Wyo.1979) ], we noted that although many cases speak of res judicata in the administrative context, they actually apply collateral estopp......
  • Joelson v. City of Casper, Wyo., No. 83-173
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • February 3, 1984
    ...decision of an administrative board is final and conclusive. Salt Creek Freightways v. Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Commission, Wyo., 598 P.2d 435 (1979), citing Campbell v. Superior Court, In and For County of Mariposa, 18 Ariz.App. 287, 501 P.2d 463 The Ruling of the Board of Adjustm......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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