Dorothy Thomas was employed as a security officer, and was assigned to work at a United Parcel Post warehouse in Auburn, Washington. ?Part of her job was to file incident reports concerning unsafe or criminal activities. She observed a variety of potential criminal conduct, including the theft of headphones, and filed related incident reports. ?When insufficient remedial action was taken, she acted outside of her contractual duties (outside the chain of command) and informed the UPS theft hotline. They followed up aggressively and the theft of headphones stopped.? ?Her immediate manager learned that she went over his head and acted outside of her contractual duties, and requested that she no longer work at the warehouse. Thereafter a meeting was scheduled with HR and the CEO. ?At the meeting she was asked to write a full report of all of the incidents that she reported.?? ?Thomas ?became ?suspicious ?because she had already written those reports, and was unaware that they had not been forwarded to corporate officials, including HR. She repeatedly refused to write the report because she feared it would be used against her.?? She was terminated from employment for insubordination.
Ms. Thomas applied for unemployment compensation. ?The Department found that she had been terminated because of misconduct and denied Moreover, the Court found that the employer failed to establish that the request was reasonable, which is a required showing for insubordination.?? The ALJ specifically found to the contrary in light of all the attendant circumstances.???? The ?Court ?found ?that ?there existed substantial evidence to support the ALJ?s findings of fact.
Kirby ?v. ?State ?of ?Washington ?Department ?of?the ?unemployment ?compensation.?? ?An ?ALJ ?set?Employment ?Security, ? ???? Wn. App.? ??????, 320 aside the Department?s determination on the basis that Thomas did not commit an act of misconduct but ?an ?error? of? judgment, ?and ?the? employer appealed to the Commission who affirmed.?? The Superior Court also affirmed.? ?The employer appealed and the Court of Appeals affirmed. A commissioner’s decision may be reversed if ?it ?is ?based ?on ?an? error ?of ?law, ?substantial evidence does not support the decision, or it was arbitrary or capricious.? ?Questions of law are reviewed de novo and substantial weight is given to the agency’s interpretation of the statutes it administers.? ?Findings of fact are reviewed for substantial evidence in light of the whole record. “[W]hether ?a? particular ?employee’s behavior? constitutes ??misconduct ?connected ?with his or her work? is a mixed question of law and fact.??? The ALJ found that Thomas “acted out of apprehension and confusion, rather than out of a conscious intent to harm the employer,” and that her “failure to give more of an explanation or to attempt to write something down . . . , was at worst the kind of error of judgment that the statute states is not misconduct.” ?The Court of Appeals rejected the employer?s argument ?that regardless of what her ?motivations ?were ?in ?refusing? to ?write ?the report, the refusal itself amounted to an act of insubordination because it was a willful, deliberate, purposeful refusal to follow her employer’s instructions.? ?The Court found that the employer did not challenge the ALJ?s findings of fact, and distinguished cases cited by the employer. P.3d 123 (3/10/14). (Grosse, Leach, Veullen).