BOARD OF APPEALS
|DECISION NO: 1484-BH-92
DATE: August 27, 1992
|CLAIMANT: Charlotte E. Kinter
|| APPEAL NO.: 9122774
|EMPLOYER: Baltimore Gas &Electric Co.
Human Relations Unit 1606
|L.O. NO: 15
Issue: Whether the claimant was discharged for gross misconduct,
connected with the work, within the meaning of Section
8-1002 of the Labor and Employment Article.
- NOTICE OF RIGHT OF APPEAL TO COURT -
YOU MAY FILE AN APPEAL FROM THIS DECISION IN ACCORDANCE WITH
THE LAWS OF MARYLAND. THE APPEAL MAYBE TAKEN IN PERSON
OR THROUGH AN ATTORNEY IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF BALTIMORE
CITY, IF YOU RESIDE IN BALTIMORE CITY, OR THE CIRCUIT
COURT OF THE COUNTY IN MARYLAND IN WHICH YOU RESIDE.
THE PERIOD FOR FILING AN APPEAL EXPIRES September 26, 1992.
|For the Claimant:
Charlotte Kinter - Claimant
| For the Employer:
Ellis Justis - Esquire
Jerry Case - Director of Purchasing
William Brown - Buyer
EVALUATION OF THE EVIDENCE
The Board of Appeals has considered all of the evidence presented,
including the testimony offered at the hearings. The Board
has also considered all of the documentary evidence introduced
in this case, as well as the Department of Economic and
Employment Development's documents in the appeal file.
The Board received a request for postponement of the hearing before
the Board of Appeals, based on the claimant's assertion
that she was in the process of obtaining legal counsel.
Counsel for the Board of Appeals denied this request, noting that
the claimant had been on notice since March 25, 1992 that
the Board would hold a hearing in this case. At the hearing
itself, held on July 7, 1992, the claimant did not bring
up this matter.
was discharged in this case for alleged conflict of interest,
in that she allegedly used her position at the Baltimore
Gas & Electric Company to gain a personal advantage
for herself from one of B G & E's contractors.
in this case show that the claimant performed an act which
could have two possible interpretations. One interpretation
is that she merely made an inquiry about a job to a contracting
firm which also worked for her employer. The best point
of her argument is that her actions, in and of themselves,
are not the type of actions which can in every case be
indicative of misconduct. In other words, in some circumstances,
the actions which the claimant took might not be interpreted
as placing undue pressure on a contractor. Based on all
of the evidence in this case, however, the Board is convinced
the claimant intended her actions to place undue pressure
on the contractor and that she was aware, because of the
contractor's position, and the nature of his personality,
that this pressure would in fact result in a benefit for herself.
FINDINGS OF FACT
The claimant was employed with the Baltimore Gas & Electric
Company in June of 1989. She was a secretary in the purchasing
department. Occasionally, the department would make use
of private messengers on a contractual basis. The department
was not hiring and firing these contractors, but it was
choosing who would perform these short-term contracts
for the employer.
The claimant was a secretary. One of her functions was to
contact a contractor from time to time and order messenger
services from that contractor. Usually, the official that
ordered the secretary to contact the messenger service
did not specify any particular messenger service. In such
a situation, the secretaries were allowed to call any
contract messenger service that was on the official approved
list. The claimant did this frequently.
The claimant often ordered such contractual messenger services
from Day Delivery. Mr. Day, the owner of the company,
was extremely anxious to curry favor with the Baltimore
Gas & Electric Company so that these contracts, which
eventually represented 1/6 of his total gross earnings, would continue.
The claimant was acquainted with Mr. Day and with one or two
other persons in his business, but she had no substantial
personal relationship with any of them. One day, the claimant
left a note on Mr. Day's desk, stating that her daughter
was looking for a job and recommending her as a good worker.
Feeling that it was necessary in order to curry further
favor with the Gas & Electric company, Mr. Day hired
the claimant's daughter, though he was not impressed with
her at the interview. She worked for about four months.
The claimant later called and let it be known among Day
Delivery Service's personnel that she would like a cake
given to her daughter on her birthday.
The claimant was discharged by the employer because the employer
felt that the claimant was using her position to exact
personal favors from some of their contractors.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The Board concludes that the claimant was discharged for gross
misconduct within the meaning of Section 8-1002 of the
Labor and Employment Article. The actual physical act
done by the claimant, placing the note on Mr. Day's desk
that her daughter would like to have a job, could possibly
be interpreted as an innocent act. In the circumstances
of this case, however, the Board concludes that it was
not. Mr. Day was exceptionally susceptible to any pressure
from the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company concerning
his contracts, and the claimant had reason to know this.
She had no substantial personal relationship with Mr.
Day or anyone else in the company. Therefore, her actions
cannot reasonably be interpreted as a mere request for
personal favors from a person who was, in fact, her friend.
The claimant is not a naive person, and her successful
attempt to get her daughter a job was a deliberate attempt
to manipulate Mr. Day by using her position with the Baltimore
Gas & Electric Company to gain a concession from him.
Obtaining employment for her daughter was an obvious personal advantage
for the claimant.
The claimant's deliberate misuse of her employment position
in order to gain benefits from a contractor for herself
is a deliberate violation of standards her employer has
a right to expect, showing a gross indifference to the
employer's interests. This is gross misconduct within
the meaning of Section 8-1002 of the Labor and Employment Article.
The claimant was discharged for gross misconduct, connected
with the work, within the meaning of Section 8-1002 of
the Labor and Employment Article. She is disqualified
from receiving benefits from the week beginning November
3, 1991 and until she becomes reemployed, earns at least
ten times her weekly benefit amount ($2,230.00) and thereafter
becomes unemployed through no fault of her own.
The decision of the Hearing Examiner is reversed.
Thomas W. Keech, Chairman
Hazel A. Warnick, Associate Member
Donna P. Watts, Associate Member
DATE OF HEARING: July 7, 1992
COPIES MAILED TO:
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE - WESTMINSTER