South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Claimant Has Right to Participate in Conference Call by Cellphone
Description Appeals court held that an unemployment compensation hearing officer, holding a hearing by conference call, did not have the right to refuse to allow a party to participate by cellphone while driving and then rule against that party. No rule prohibited participation in the meeting by that manner of communication.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Unemployment Benefits; Hearing; Participation; Cellphone
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts After Brooks quit work, she filed for unemployment benefits. Her former employer filed a letter of protest. The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission deputy determined that Brooks had quit voluntarily, but did so for good cause attributable to mistreatment by her employer. The employer appealed and a telephone conference call among the parties was scheduled. Brooks participated in the conference by calling from her cellphone as she was driving to work at her new job. The appeals referee refused to talk to her on the cellphone, as he believed it was bad policy to conduct business on a cellphone while driving, and issued a decision disqualifying Brooks from benefits. She appealed.
Decision

Reversed. The referee's decision to exclude unemployment compensation because Brooks was using a cellphone while driving was unreasonable. There is no statute or regulation that prohibits the use of cellphones. Brooks was willing to participate in the conference call by cellphone; the referee had no right to have his personal view on that matter determine the outcome of the proceeding.

Citation Brooks v. Correale Dentists, LLC, --- S.W.3d --- (2002 WL 31300121, Ct. App., Mo., 2002)

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