SHELLI D. BOUNDS APPELLANT
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY AND SAL-LIZ, INC. APPELLEES
OF JUDGMENT: 10/05/2017
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. STEVE S. RATCLIFF III TRIAL JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: KYLE BOYD AINSWORTH
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: ALBERT B. WHITE JAMES RANDALL BUSH
DON A. MITCHELL
IRVING, P.J., GREENLEE AND TINDELL, JJ.
1. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES)
affirmed the denial of unemployment benefits following Shelli
Bounds's termination from Sal-Liz Inc. Bounds appealed to
the Circuit Court of Rankin County, which affirmed MDES's
decision. Bounds appeals again, asserting the following
issues: (1) whether Sal-Liz proved that she exhibited
misconduct by substantial clear and convincing evidence; and
(2) whether her alleged behavior constitutes insubordination
that rises to the level of misconduct. We find no error;
therefore, we affirm. FACTS
On July 26, 2010, Bounds began working at Sal-Liz as a sales
clerk. On December 15, 2016, she was terminated. Bounds filed
for unemployment benefits. A claims examiner determined that
Bounds was terminated for committing misconduct connected
with her employment and consequently denied her benefits.
Bounds appealed the denial of her claim, and an
administrative law judge (ALJ) conducted a telephonic hearing
on March 14, 2017.
During the hearing, both Bounds and her former supervisor,
Judy Alexander-Stamm, testified regarding the events that
occurred on the day that Bounds was terminated.
Alexander-Stamm testified that she asked Bounds-who was
standing nearby reviewing an order book-to assist a customer
who had entered the store. Bounds refused. Alexander-Stamm
again asked Bounds to assist the customer. Bounds
"slammed" the order book down onto the counter. She
picked up a clipboard to read the customer's name, then
"threw the clipboard across the counter." A little
while later, Bounds went to the break room to have her lunch.
Alexander-Stamm followed her and said that she needed to talk
to Bounds about her behavior in front of the customers.
Bounds replied that she was busy and to leave her alone.
Alexander-Stamm reasserted that she needed to talk to Bounds,
and Bounds again refused. At this point, Alexander-Stamm
instructed Bounds to go home. Bounds repeatedly asked
Alexander-Stamm if she was firing her until Alexander-Stamm
finally stated that she was. Alexander-Stamm testified that
Bounds was ultimately discharged "[f]or her behavior and
insubordination, [and] lack of following instructions."
Alexander-Stamm maintained that she had not initially
intended on firing Bounds, but that when Bounds continued to
refuse to follow instructions, she had no choice but to fire
When asked whether she had ever had problems with Bounds
before that date, Alexander-Stamm replied, "We always
had a b-ah, she never would um . . . really help the
customers. We would always have to go and ask her to help,
and . . . sometimes she would just bury herself in the
stockroom and just, you know, uh kind of hide to keep from
helping customers. It was a[n] ongoing problem."
Alexander-Stamm further maintained that while Bounds had
"never really had an, an outburst of anger like [that]
before," she had previously refused to help customers
and refused to follow orders. Alexander-Stamm stated that she
had spoken with Bounds about that behavior before.
Bounds testified to a largely similar version of events
occurring on December 15, 2016, but maintained that she did
not slam the order book down or throw the clipboard across
the counter. Bounds admitted that she refused to speak to
Alexander-Stamm in the break room; however, she maintained
that Alexander-Stamm never confirmed that she was actually
firing her. Bounds also asserted that she had never been
formally reprimanded prior to this incident. Bounds's
sister, Theresa Borne, testified on behalf of Bounds. She
agreed that Bounds's action of closing the book
"made a loud sound," but she denied that Bounds
slammed the clipboard onto the counter.
Following the hearing, the ALJ found that Bounds had
exhibited misconduct in that she displayed inappropriate
behavior after being instructed to assist a customer, and
further displayed inappropriate behavior when Alexander-Stamm
tried to speak with her about her behavior. Consequently, the
ALJ denied unemployment benefits to Bounds. Bounds appealed
to the MDES Board of Review (Board), which adopted the
findings of fact and opinion of the ALJ and affirmed her
decision. Bounds filed a notice of appeal and petition for
review with the Circuit Court of Rankin County, which
affirmed the Board's decision. Bounds timely appealed.
7. "The standard of review in cases where this Court
examines the circuit court's judgment affirming the
Board's decision is abuse of discretion."
Windham v. Miss. Dep'tof Emp't
Sec., 207 So.3d 1249, 1251 (¶8) (Miss. Ct. App.
2017). "An agency's findings should not be disturbed
unless its order is: (1) not supported by substantial
evidence, (2) arbitrary or capricious, (3) beyond the scope