Essay on Case Law Briefings
Supreme Court of New Mexico.
Zelma M. MITCHELL, Plaintiff-Appellee,
LOVINGTON GOOD SAMARITAN CENTER, INC., Defendant-Appellant.
No. 10847.Oct. 27, 1976.
Appeal was taken from an order of the District Court, Bernalillo County, Richard B. Traub, D.J., reversing a decision of the Unemployment Security Commission and awarding benefits to discharged employee. The Supreme Court, Sosa, J., held that employee’s insubordination, improper attire, name calling and other conduct evidencing wilful disregard of employer’s interests constituted ‘misconduct’ disqualifying her from receiving certain unemployment benefits.
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The issue before us is whether Mrs. Mitchell’s actions constituted misconduct under s 59-9-5(b), N.M.S.A.1953. Mrs. Mitchell started work at the Center in Lovington on July 4, 1972 as a nurse’s aide. After approximately one year on the job in addition to her normal duties she also served as a relief medications nurse two days per week. On June 4, 1974, she was terminated. The testimony concerning the events leading up to her termination that day is somewhat contradictory but basically is the following. Mrs. Mitchell arrived punctually to work at three p.m. The director of the Center, Mr. Smith, questioned her about why she was already filling in her time card. Mrs. Mitchell answered that she filled in eight hours, which she would work that day as long as she did not ‘break a leg or die.’ Mr. Smith replied, ‘Well, I’m not so sure about that.’ Mrs. Mitchell then became defensive and stated that she had supported him when the Director of Nurses, Mrs. Mary Stroope, sought to have him fired as director. Mrs. Stroope, in the vicinity, overheard this comment, denied it, and called Mrs. Mitchell a liar. At various times during this exchange Mrs. Mitchell referred to Mr. Smith, Mrs. Stroope, and others as