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Johnson v. Mississippi Department of Employment Security

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 4, 2014

ZELMA JOHNSON, APPELLANT
v.
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/20/2013.

Page 150

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MARGARET CAREY-MCCRAY. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY'S DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS.

ZELMA JOHNSON, APPELLANT, Pro se.

FOR APPELLEE: ALBERT B. WHITE, LEANNE F. BRADY.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 151

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - STATE BOARDS AND AGENCIES

BARNES, J.

¶1. Zelma Johnson, appearing pro se, appeals the decision of the Circuit Court of Washington County, which affirmed the decision of the Board of Review (Board) of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) denying her unemployment benefits. Finding there was not substantial evidence to support the Board's decision, we reverse and remand to the MDES for a computation of unemployment benefits.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Johnson had been employed with Washington County Opportunities Inc. (Employer), which operates a " Head Start" program for low-income parents of preschool children in Greenville, Mississippi. She had been employed for thirty-eight years as a family-service worker, until she was discharged on September 27, 2012, for insubordination. The Employer claims Johnson repeatedly refused to follow a direct work-related order to perform a job duty.

¶3. After discharge, Johnson filed for unemployment benefits. An MDES claims examiner investigated the facts surrounding the discharge, interviewing Johnson and Gracie Williams, the Employer's human resource director. Williams stated Johnson was discharged because Johnson was asked several times to relocate a special-needs child from a three-year-old class to a four-year-old class and failed to do so.

¶4. The date of the incident at issue was on or around September 14, 2012. Johnson stated the special-needs child transferred from another center, and the child's transfer slip incorrectly had the child's age as three years old. Checking the birth certificate, Johnson found the child was actually four years old. Johnson claimed she was asked by her supervisor, Lena Berry, to relocate the child to her four-year-old class, but Johnson told Berry her four-year-old class was already full with the maximum capacity of twenty children. [1] Berry then told her to place the child in a classroom. Johnson stated that she needed the other workers' permission to place a child in their classroom, and asked Berry in which classroom to place the child. Berry did not respond; so Johnson asked her coworkers who did not have full classrooms if they would take the child. Johnny Smith, whose classrooms were not full, offered to take the child, but then changed his mind after speaking with a coworker. He in turn gave the child's information folder to another coworker, Glenda Nelson, and ...


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