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Langlois v. Maine Unemployment Ins. Commission

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

September 11, 2017

BRENT LANGLOIS Petitioner
v.
MAINE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE COMMISSION Respondent

          Pro se Petitioner: BRENT LANGLOIS

          For Respondent: NANCY MACIROWSKI, AAG OFFICE OF THE ATTY GENERAL

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          A.M. Horton, Justice

         This Rule 80C appeal from administrative agency action comes before the court on the appeal of Petitioner Brent Langlois from a decision of Respondent Maine Unemployment Insurance Commission (MUIC) denying Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of its prior determination to disqualify him from unemployment benefits because he was discharged for misconduct. See 26 M.R.S. § 1043(2), 1193(2). This court has jurisdiction of the appeal pursuant to 26 M.R.S. §§ 1194(8) and 5 M.RS. § 11001 et seq. See also M.R. Civ. P. 80C.

         The court elects to decide the appeal without oral argument. See M.R. Civ. 80C(1) (oral argument to be scheduled "[u]nless the court otherwise directs." See also Lindemann v. Comm'n on Governmental Ethics & Election Practices, 2008 ME 187, ¶26, 961 A.2d 538 (Rule 80C permits court to direct that oral argument not be scheduled).

         Based on the entire record, the court concludes that Respondent MUIC's decision is supported by substantial evidence and therefore denies the appeal and grants judgment to Respondent.

         Background

         The following factual summary is based on the record on appeal. References to testimony are based on the transcript of the November 28, 2016 telephonic hearing on the employer's appeal from the deputy's decision awarding benefits. The transcript occupies pages 19-62 of the record, and page references are to the record as paginated. See R. 19-62.

         Petitioner Brent Langlois was employed as a stylist with Cara & Company, a hair salon and spa in Falmouth owned and operated by Cara Michaud, from 2010 until October 4, 2016, when he was discharged. R. 36. During the two weeks before that date, he had not been to work due to what he said were injuries sustained in a four-wheeling accident. R. 50. The injuries were not work-related and occurred outside the scope of his employment.

         On October 4 Petitioner Langlois telephoned his employer to say that he would be out for a third consecutive week due to the same injuries. R. 39-40. At that point in the telephone conversation, Cara Michaud, the owner, requested that he provide a doctor's note to confirm the injuries and his need for time off work in order to convalesce. Id. Petitioner's response to the request is disputed. Cara Michard testified that Petitioner responded to the request by saying he would provide a doctor's note if the employer paid for the doctor's visit. R. 40. Petitioner acknowledged asking Ms. Michaud, "Would you like to pay for the doctor-for me to go to the doctor's?" R. 51.

         At that point the telephone call ended. Ms. Michaud contends that the Petitioner hung up on her. R. 41. Petitioner contends that the call was dropped. R. 51. However, Petitioner did not call back to resume the conversation. R. 4 Ms. Michaud and her manager discussed the telephone conversation and agreed that Petitioner should be terminated. R. 41.

         At least fifteen minutes after the first call had been terminated, the manager called Petitioner back and told him he was being terminated. R. 42-43. When he asked if it was for hanging up on Ms. Michaud, the manager said it was. R. 42. However, Ms. Michaud asked the manager to call Petitioner back and tell him that his termination was due to his insistence that the employer pay for the doctor's note as well as for the hang-up. R. 42-43. During her testimony, Ms. Michaud cited previous instances in which Petitioner had shown disrespect, not to her personally, but, as she put it, to the business, including an instance in May 2016 when Petitioner walked out on a client who was sitting in the stylist's chair, with another client waiting. R. 46-47.

         The MUIC deputy initially granted benefits on the basis that the employer had not met its burden to prove that the discharge was for misconduct. R. 66-69. On the employer's appeal and after hearing, the Division of Administrative Hearings hearing officer ruled in favor of Cara & Company. R. 14-18 (Me. Unemp. Ins. Comm'n, Div. of Admin. Hrgs. Case No. 2016 A 06204). That decision was upheld by the Commission, R. 7-8 (Me. Unemp. Ins. Comm'n Dec. No. 16-C-06874), which also denied Petitioner's request for reconsideration. R. 1-2 (Me. Unemp. Ins. Comm'n Dec. No. 17-C-00490).

         Standard ...


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