Unemployment Appeals Reports

The Tenth District relies on its limited standard of review for unemployment compensation cases to reject an appeal of a denial of unemployment compensation to an employee who had been approved during her determination, redetermination, and hearing, only to find herself denied after a rehearing.

Kohl v. Health Management Solutions, Inc., 2015 Ohio 4999 (10th Dist.).


December 3, 2015

Kohl started employment as a claims examiner in February 2012.  In December 2012, she learned that her mother had cancer and in March 2013 started to experience her own medical issues resulting in her falling behind on some job duties.  On May 6, 2013 she was issued a formal coaching.  On July 11, 2013 she received a first formal written warning and on August 28, 2013 she received a second formal written warning.  On October 31, 2013 she was placed on a decision making leave and required to submit an action plan.

The Employer rejected her first action plan because it was completed by someone else and rejected her second action plan because it stated simply, "Accept Compensation in Lump Sum That Is Of No less than my gross annual income. OR Pursue Litigation As Necessary."  On December 10, 2013, the Employer accepted a revised action plan and allowed her to return to work.

On December 11, 2013 her coworkers complained that she was being disruptive.  She admitted to saying that she hoped the Employer would fire her because she would be a "rich woman," but contended that her co-workers were actually disrupting her. She was put on leave and terminated on December 18, 2015 due to, "(1) excessive, loud, boisterous talking; (2) wasting time; and (3) failing to establish performance and productivity standards."  The Employer presented evidence that claims examiners typically processed "10-15 requests for treatment a day and created 30-40 reports a day. On December 10, 2013, appellant processed 0 requests and prepared only 6 notes. On December 11, 2013, appellant processed 0 requests and prepared only 3 notes."

Kohl applied for unemployment compensation and was approved through the initial determination.  When the Employer appealed, a redetermination was issued also approving her for unemployment compensation.  The Employer appealed again, a hearing was held, and Kohl was again approved for benefits.  However, the Employer filed a Request for Review that was granted, sending the matter back for another hearing, during which the Employer ultimately prevailed.

Kohl appealed to the trial court, which denied her appeal, and ultimately brought this appeal while representing herself.  The Tenth District first reviewed is particularly narrow standard of review of unemployment compensation cases.  It observed that it could only reverse the decision "if it is unlawful, unreasonable, or against the manifest weight of the evidence," that it could not make "factual findings or determine a witness's credibility" and could not reverse based on the manifest weight of the evidence "if it is supported by some competent, credible evidence in the record going to all the essential elements of the case."

The Tenth District rejected Kohl's argument that there was no reliable, substantial, and probative evidence that she caused disruptive behavior. It observed instead that there was testimony that co-workers reported her being disruptive and a review revealed she had completed a minimum amount of work.  Kohl also admitted to making the statements.  While Kohn disputed the credibility of the evidence, the Tenth District reiterated that it could not make factual findings or determine witness credibility.

Kohl also argued that the Commission failed to consider what was in her director's file and what was presented during the first hearing when the second hearing was held.  The Tenth District rejected this argument, concluding that she offered, "no support for her statement that the commission hearing officer failed to consider prior evidence or that the hearing officer considered only the testimony offered at the June 30, 2014 hearing before issuing the July 23, 2014 decision."

If you do find yourself in need of appealing an unemployment determination or would like more information about the unemployment appeal steps, visit my web page for more information at http://SivinskiLegal.com