Mitchell v. Lovington Good Samaritan Center, Inc., 555 P.2d 696 (1976).
Facts: The appellee was terminated from the Lovington Good Samaritan Center, Inc. on June 4, 1974. On June 12, 1974 Mrs. Mitchell applied for unemployment compensation benefits. She was initially disqualified from seven weeks of benefits by a deputy of the Unemployment Security Commission. Mrs. Mitchell then filed an appeal, and the Appeal Tribunal reversed the deputy’s decision. Mrs. Mitchell’s benefits were reinstated on August 28, 1974. On September 13, 1974 the Center appealed the decision made by the Appeal tribunal to the whole Commission. The Commission overruled the Appeal Tribunal and reinstated the seven week disqualification period. Mrs. Mitchell then…show more content… At issue is whether the misconduct which warranted the termination rose to the level of misconduct which would warrant the denial of unemployment compensation. Rodman recognizes the “last straw” doctrine, but contends that the district court erred in applying the rule in this case because her infractions on February 15 were the result of third parties over whom she had no control. Rodman contends that she may not be denied unemployment benefits where the “last straw” which led to her termination was not willful or intentional, especially where, under the employer’s policy, she could not have been discharged at all prior to this final incident.
Issue: If substantial evidence existed that Rodman’s conduct on February 15, considered in light of the totality of circumstances including her previous history of personal phone calls and unauthorized visitors, showed a willful or wanton disregard for her employee’s interests, then Rodman’s benefits were properly denied.
Rule: We believe that termination for a series of incidents which, taken together, may constitute “misconduct” is distinguishable from termination for a single incident following one or more corrective action notices. In the latter event, as here, we hold that the “last straw” must demonstrate a willful or wanton disregard for the employer’s interests for unemployment benefits to be denied.