Worklaw® Network Member Kamer Zucker Abbott (Las Vegas, NV) Secures Win Before Nevada Court Of Appeals

By Kamer Zucker Abbott

April 2, 2019

The Nevada Court of Appeals recently upheld the disqualification of unemployment benefits to a former employee based on misconduct, reversing a state district court decision which had found in favor of the employee.   

The employer, Coast Hotel and Casinos, terminated Tristram Johns, a bartender, for failing to charge and undercharging customers for alcoholic beverages. The Nevada Employment Security Division (“ESD”) initially granted Mr. Johns unemployment benefits. The employer challenged the decision by arguing that Mr. Johns’ misconduct disqualified him from unemployment benefits. An appeals referee agreed with the employer, and the ESD Board of Review adopted and affirmed the denial of benefits. The ESD also ordered Mr. Johns to repay the amount of benefits he had already received. Mr. Johns appealed to the district court, challenging both the decision on his misconduct and the order to repay benefits.

The district court granted Mr. Johns’ appeal, concluding that substantial evidence did not show that Johns engaged in disqualifying misconduct. The employer and the ESD appealed. The Nevada Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s decision on Johns’ misconduct, explaining that under Nevada law, an employee is disqualified from unemployment benefits when he engages in "unlawful, dishonest, or improper behavior.” “Disqualifying misconduct occurs when an employee deliberately and unjustifiably violates or disregards [his or] her employer's reasonable policy or standard, or otherwise acts in such a careless or negligent manner as to show a substantial disregard of the employer's interests or the employee's duties and obligations to [the] employer.” The Court then determined that the employer had submitted substantial evidence of Johns’ misconduct. The Court of Appeals also found substantial evidence supporting the ESD’s repayment order.

KZA congratulates our client on this notable victory, and our partner, Jen Sarafina, for her hard work on our client’s behalf. 

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