Duong v. DWS

Annotate this Case
Duong v. DWS

2001 UT App 390



Ann N. Duong,


Department of Workforce Services, Workforce Appeals Board; and Compeq International Corporation,

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20010804-CA

(December 13, 2001)



Original Proceeding in this Court

Ann N. Duong, Salt Lake City, Petitioner Pro Se
Lorin R. Blauer, Salt Lake City, for Respondent Workforce Appeals Board


Before Judges Greenwood, Jackson, and Davis.


Petitioner Ann N. Duong seeks judicial review of final agency action determining that she quit her employment without good cause and disqualifying her from receipt of unemployment compensation benefits.

An agency's findings of fact will be affirmed if they are supported by "substantial evidence when viewed in light of the whole record before the court." Utah Code Ann. § 63-46b-14(4)(g) (1997). The findings of the Administrative Law Judge, which were adopted by the Workforce Appeals Board in this case, are supported by substantial evidence in the record. It is undisputed that Duong refused (1) to follow her supervisor's instructions; (2) to accept the one day suspension; and (3) to agree to follow the supervisor's instructions after being advised that failure to do so would result in her discharge. Duong has consistently contended that she should have been able to perform her duties as she believed they should be performed; accordingly, she claims that she should not be required to follow her supervisor's instructions if she did not agree with them. Nevertheless, she has not demonstrated that the Board's actual findings are not supported by substantial evidence.

Under the agency's rules, "[i]f a worker refused to follow the reasonable requests or instructions knowing the loss of employment would result, the separation is a quit." Utah Code Admin. P. R994-405-204(3). Accordingly, the Board determined that Duong voluntarily quit her job without good cause. "[I]n reviewing these issues, we defer to the agency and we will not overturn its decisions regarding voluntariness and good cause unless we determine it has abused its discretion." Robinson v. Dep't of Employment Sec., 827 P.2d 250, 252 (Utah Ct. App. 1992). Duong was given ample opportunity to follow the instructions of her supervisor, and she was advised that failure to do so would result in termination. Although the human resources director and operations manager both confirmed to Duong that she must follow her supervisor's instructions even if she disagreed with them, Duong persisted in her refusal. Under the agency's rules, this constituted a voluntary quit without good cause. The Board did not abuse its discretion in making this determination.

The Board also declined to apply the equity and good conscience exception. Although Duong demonstrated a continuing attachment to the labor market, the Board concluded that her actions were not reasonable under the circumstances and that the denial of benefits was not inconsistent with the intent of the unemployment insurance program. We apply a reasonableness standard to this determination and conclude that the Board's decision was reasonable. See id. at 254.

We affirm the decision of the Board and dismiss the petition seeking review.

Pamela T. Greenwood, Presiding Judge

Norman H. Jackson, Associate Presiding Judge

James Z. Davis, Judge