Utah Court of AppealsSep 26, 2002
2002 UT App. 310 (Utah Ct. App. 2002)

Case No. 20020184-CA.

Filed September 26, 2002. (Not For Official Publication)

Original Proceeding in this Court.

Lou Ann Rael, Taylorsville, Petitioner Pro Se.

Suzan Pixton, Salt Lake City, for Respondent Workforce Appeals Board

Before Judges Jackson, Billings, and Bench.


Petitioner Lou Ann Rael seeks judicial review of a decision of the Workforce Appeals Board disqualifying her from unemployment compensation benefits. This case is before the court on a sua sponte motion for summary disposition.

Although Rael claims that the agency abused its discretion, violated her rights to due process, and acted arbitrarily, she failed to respond to the sua sponte motion and has provided no analysis in support of her claims. Rael does not challenge the Board's findings of fact. Accordingly, we review only the Board's decision that Rael was discharged for just cause and is disqualified from benefits. We will uphold the Board's decision denying Rael unemployment benefits "if it is reasonable and rational." Bhatia v. Board of Rev., 834 P.2d 574, 577 (Utah Ct.App. 1993).

To establish just cause for a discharge, the employer must demonstrate the elements of culpability, knowledge, and control. See Utah Admin. Code R994-405-202. The employer's instruction to deliver the load in Denver, rather than Salt Lake City, was specific and clear. The employer could reasonably expect that its instructions would be followed. The employer contracted with customers to deliver loads on time ninety-eight percent of the time. Failure to follow the employer's instructions was culpable because it was likely that the load would be delivered late. Rael had been terminated previously after six disciplinary violations. A condition of her reinstatement, which occurred three weeks prior to the final termination, was that her behavior would improve. Rael's history of insubordinate conduct included delivering a previous load late. Rael had the requisite knowledge that insubordinate conduct was likely to result in termination. Rael also contended, after the fact, that she lacked the requisite control over her behavior because she was too emotionally upset to drive safely. However, it was within her control to either continue driving, as she did, or to clearly communicate to the employer that she could not safely drive. Rael had sufficient control to either comply with her supervisor's instructions or to clearly communicate her inability to do so. Finally, given Rael's history, her actions were not an isolated instance of poor judgment. We conclude that the Board's decision was reasonable and rational and not an abuse of its discretion. See id.

We affirm the Board's decision that Rael be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.

Norman H. Jackson, Presiding Judge, Judith M. Billings, Associate Presiding Judge, and Russell W. Bench, Judge, concur.