PA205 Douglas Kaye Unit 4 assignment LATE SUBMISSION04242012

The handbook did not say anything about hair color

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hygiene and appearance. The handbook did not say anything about hair color. The manager relayed the message to Apodaca who informed him two days later that she had decided to keep her hair color. She was then terminated and filed for unemployment benefits. The Department initially decided that Apodaca was ineligible for compensation because she had been terminated “for refusing to conform to the standards of personal grooming compatible with the work [she was] performing.” The claims officer concluded that this constituted misconduct. Apodaca appealed to the Appeals Tribunal, which affirmed her denial of benefits. She then appealed the Tribunal’s decision to the Department’s Board of Review. After reviewing the record of the hearing, the Board concluded that the employer failed to show how Apodaca’s hair color affected its business; therefore, her refusal to return her hair to its original color did not rise to the level of “misconduct” required for denial of her benefits. For review of the Board’s decision, the employer filed a writ of certiorari with the Dona Ana County District Court who determined that Burger Time’s request to Apodaca to change her hair color was reasonable and enforceable and Apodaca’s refusal of that request was misconduct. The court concluded that the Board of Review’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence and was contrary to the law and reversed the decision granting Apodaca her benefits. This appeal followed. ISSUE At issue in this case is whether or not an employee who refuses to alter her personal appearance in conformity with the employer’s personal beliefs about acceptable community standards has engaged in "misconduct.” RULE Apodaca’s refusal to alter her personal appearance in conformity with the employer’s personal beliefs about acceptable community standards does not make her guilty of engaging in
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"misconduct" and termination for an isolated incident which does not “significantly affect the employer’s business” may not form the basis for denial of benefits on the grounds of misconduct. . ANALYSIS There is absolutely no evidence that the color of Apodaca’s hair significantly affected Burger Time’s business. Both the store manager and the store owner testified that they received no customer complaints regarding the color of Apodaca’s hair. Apodaca’s immediate supervisor reported that the only comments she heard were compliments, and that Burger Time’s customers normally registered complaints when they found something amiss. Under these circumstances, the Board of Review could properly decide that Apodaca’s refusal to re tint her hair did not rise to the level of misconduct. It therefore fell upon Burger Time to show that Apodaca’s refusal to change the color of her hair amounted to misconduct under the standard considered in Alonzo and Trujillo. This, Burger Time failed to do and thus failed to meet its burden of proof. Moreover, Apodaca presented uncontroverted testimony that no customers complained, and some complimented her for her hair. We do not question Burger Time’s right to establish a grooming code for its employees, to revise its rules in **92 *179 response to unanticipated situations, and to make its hiring and firing decisions in conformity with this policy. However, as we noted in Rodman, “It is * * * possible for an employee to have been properly discharged without having acted [in a manner] as would justify denial of benefits.” 107 N.M. at 761, 764 P.2d at 1319. 2 Definition of misconduct
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  • Fall '12
  • Supreme Court of the United States, Unemployment benefits, unemployment compensation, Burger Time, Lucy Apodaca

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