Butler v. DWS, Case No. 990900-CA, Filed November 24, 2000
IN THE UTAH COURT OF
Butler v. DWS
Curtis Jay Butler,
Petitioner and Appellant,
Department of Workforce Services,
Workforce Appeals Board;
and Sunwest Funding, Inc.,
Respondents and Appellees.
(Not For Official Publication)
Case No. 990900-CA
F I L E D
November 24, 2000 2000 UT App 335 -----
Original Proceeding in this Court
Curtis Butler, Grantsville, Appellant Pro Se
Lorin R. Blauer, Salt Lake City, for Appellee
Before Judges Jackson, Bench, and Davis.
To be successful on appeal, Butler had to show that he quit for good cause, and that even if he did not quit for good cause, equity and good conscience would support an award of benefits. See Utah Code Admin. P. R994-405-102, -103 (2000). He has failed to do this.
Butler did not show good cause for quitting his employment. As the finder of fact, to whom credibility determinations are given deference, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) accepted Butler's employer's explanation for Butler quitting. Cf. Homer v. Smith, 866 P.2d 622, 627 (Utah Ct. App. 1993) (stating fact finder is in best position to judge credibility of witnesses). The ALJ concluded that Butler quit over his employer's policy not to pay sick leave, not because his guaranteed salary had been eliminated or because he would be made an independent contractor. The ALJ accepted the employer's explanation that it had not reduced Butler's guaranteed salary to zero and that it would have been against federal law to make Butler, who was a loan officer, a 1099 employee. The evidence supports the Board's affirmance of the ALJ's credibility determination and conclusion that Butler did not have good cause to quit. Therefore, the Board did not abuse its discretion in reaching this conclusion. See Morton Int'l, Inc. v. Auditing Div., 814 P.2d 581, 584 (Utah 1991) (stating appellate court will not overturn Board's good cause determination unless Board abused its discretion).
Butler also failed to prove that equity and good conscience require an award of benefits. The ALJ determined, and the Board concurred, that Butler's actions were not reasonable because he "quit over something that in all likelihood would have no monetary effect on him." In other words, because Butler and other company employees made much of their money by commission, whether they were paid for sick days was of little, if any, financial consequence. The record supports this conclusion.
Finally, the Board's determination that Butler provided misleading information to obtain his benefits and, thus, is at fault for the overpayment is supported by the record and consistent with determinations concerning good cause and equity and good conscience.
Whether Butler's employer went out of business after he quit and after his hearings is irrelevant to his claims.
In sum, the Board did not abuse its discretion in determining that Butler quit his job voluntarily and without good cause, that it would not be contrary to equity and good conscience to deny benefits, and that Butler was responsible for $1659.00 in overpayments.
Norman H. Jackson,
Associate Presiding Judge
Russell W. Bench, Judge
James Z. Davis, Judge