Land v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals BoardAnnotate this Case
For more than 10 years, Land worked as a field service specialist for DISH Network. After a customer complaint in 2015, Land’s supervisor filled out an “Employee Consultation” form that stated it was a “Final written notice” issued “due to policy violation: Falsification of Company records.” On the day before Land signed the consultation form, Dish received another customer complaint. Land admitted, “going to the customer’s home off the clock and taking his daughters.” The second consultation form indicated that it was a termination notice. Land applied for unemployment benefits
An ALJ determined Land was ineligible for benefits because he had been discharged for breaking “a reasonable employer rule.” Land maintained he was unaware of any Dish policy forbidding employees from giving out their personal contact information to customers and from performing work during off-hours. He claimed he had gone back to the customer’s house to prevent a trouble call and to save the company money. The Appeals Board adopted the ALJ’s findings.
The court of appeal reversed the denial of Land’s petition for a writ of administrative mandamus. The Appeals Board prejudicially abused its discretion in refusing to consider additional evidence proffered by Land. While the Board has considerable discretion in allowing or refusing to consider new evidence, the evidence was a customer’s declaration that would have “effectively refuted” the chronology of events set forth by the ALJ and adopted by the Board.