[Solved] Mathews V. B and K Foods, Inc.
Mathews v. B and K Foods, Inc.
FACTS Dianne Mathews was employed by B and K Foods, Inc., as a floral manager. In 2010, she was terminated for submitting falsified timesheets. She filed for unemployment compensation (see Chapter 24), but B and K objected, arguing that Mathews was not entitled to unemployment benefits because she had been discharged for misconduct in connection with work. At an employment commission hearing, the chief executive officer of B and K testified that it was company policy to pay employees who worked through their lunch breaks. To be paid, a person turned in a "no- lunch sheet." Mathews, however, turned in "no-lunch sheets" when she ran personal errands.
She admitted to knowing about the policy, but she contended that her conduct was warranted. She claimed that a former employee who was a higher-level manager at B and K had told her that it was unnecessary to adjust her timesheet when she spent a few minutes on a personal errand. The employment commission ruled that Mathews could not receive unemployment compensation benefits. Mathews appealed.
ISSUE Was it misconduct for Mathews to be paid for time spent running personal errands when this was against company policy?
DECISION Yes. A state intermediate appellate court affirmed the employment commission's decision that Mathews should not receive unemployment benefits.
REASON According to the court, " 'work-related misconduct' must involve a willful violation of the rules or standards of the employer." The employer met its burden of proving such misconduct. B and K presented substantial evidence that Mathews had falsified time cards by turning in "no-lunch" sheets for time she had spent running personal errands. Mathews admitted that she was familiar with the company's no-lunch policy. Furthermore, she was responsible for seeing that her subordinate employees followed the policy. The court accepted the B and K executive's statement that "they had no choice but to terminate [Mathews] because she was in a higher position and had a responsibility to enforce the lunch policy."
WHAT IF THE FACTS WERE DIFFERENT? Suppose that Mathews had not admitted to knowing about the "no-lunch sheet" policy. Would the result in this case have been different ? Why or why not ?
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