Kansas court finds off-duty conduct reasonably related to claimant’s job; benefits denied
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Friday, June 12, 2020

Kansas court finds off-duty conduct reasonably related to claimant’s job; benefits denied

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The court of appeals, reversing the lower court, found that the decision to deny benefits to the claimant was supported by substantial evidence. The claimant, a cook at a nursing home, took pictures of a resident, who was a friend, while she was off duty. Photographing or videotaping residents were violations of the employer’s policy, as well as a violation of HIPAA. The district court found that there was no rule noted in the record that prohibited off-duty activities and that the rule against taking pictures did not apply to an employee who was off duty. However, the court of appeals found that the factual findings made by the referee and adopted by the Board were supported by substantial evidence. The employer established that it had personally warned the claimant about the rule after the first occurrence, she signed an acknowledgement of the policy, and she admitted to being aware of the policy. Moreover, the employer proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the policy protecting the confidential information of residents, and thus prohibiting an employee from taking pictures or videos of residents, was reasonably related to the claimant’s job (Carolyn Scofield v. Bd. of Rev., Kan. Ct. of App. (Unpub. Op.), No. 120,579, April 24, 2020).

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