mime-version: 1.0 content-type: multipart/related; boundary="----=_NextPart_01C54995.45F64790" This document is a Single File Web Page, also known as a Web Archive file. If you are seeing this message, your browser or editor doesn't support Web Archive files. Please download a browser that supports Web Archive, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer. ------=_NextPart_01C54995.45F64790 mime-version: 1.0 content-location: file:///C:/235752B9/eo04-349.htm content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable content-type: text/html; charset="us-ascii"
= &n= bsp; &nbs= p; = &n= bsp; ENTRY ORDER
= &n= bsp; &nbs= p; SUPREME COURT DOCKET NO. 2004-349
= &n= bsp; &nbs= p; = &n= bsp; APRIL TERM, 2005
Paul Grindel &nbs= p; = &n= bsp; &nbs= p; = } = APPEALED FROM:
v. = &n= bsp; &nbs= p; = &n= bsp; &nbs= p; } = Employment Security Board
} = a>
Department of Employment and Security  = ; }
Traini= ng and The Stanley House c/o US Express = } = DOCKET NO. 01-04-184-11
= &n= bsp; &nbs= p; In the above-entitled cause, the Clerk will enter:
Claimant appeals from an Employment Security Board (ESB) decision finding him disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits during a pe= riod of physical disability and requiring claimant to repay the benefits he rec= eived in error. We affirm.
Claimant was laid off from his job at The Stanley Works in May 2003. On September 29, 2003, the employer’s plant manager contacted claimant and offered him a job in= the plant’s sawmill. The j= ob paid the same as claimant’s previous position and required the same skill level. Claimant declined the= job, citing a severe hand injury he received on September 26. The plant manager contacted claim= ant again the next day, and again claimant refused the offer to work because h= is hand injury prevented him from doing the job.
Claimant filed claims for continuing unemployment compensation benefits following h= is hand injury, but he did not disclose the job offer from The Stanley Works.= That omission gave rise to a proc= eeding before a claims adjudicator for the Department of Employment and Training (DET). DET investigated claimant’s benefits and determined that he was ineligible for unempl= oyment compensation beginning the week that The Stanley Works offered him employm= ent through January 10, 2004. Th= e DET claims adjudicator ordered claimant to repay the $5,744 in benefits claima= nt received during that time. C= laimant appealed the decision to the ESB, and now to this Court.
In upholding the decision that claimant was ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits while recuperating from the hand injury, the ESB explained that unemployment compensation is not intended to ease the consequences of unemployment caused by an illness or disability. Willard v. Vt. Unemployment Co= mp. Comm’n, 122 Vt. 398, 404 (1961). Therefore, the statute governing unemployment compensation requires= the claimant to be “able to work” and “available for work= 221; to be eligible for benefits. 21 V.S.A. § 1343(a)(3). Wh= en an individual refuses otherwise suitable work because of an injury or illness= , the individual is neither “able to” nor “available” for work. See Willard, 12= 2 Vt. at 404-05 (explaining that the conditions a worker places on employment, whether voluntary or involuntarily due to a physical disability, may rende= r the worker unavailable for work and ineligible for unemployment compensation).=
Claimant acknowledges that he declined the = offer to work in the sawmill because of his hand injury. Claimant challenges the ESB’= ;s repayment order, arguing that he did not misrepresent the reason for decli= ning work. Claimant asserts that = he notified both DET and The Stanley Works of the injury promptly after it occurred.= p>
Although the record appears to support claimant’s assertions about his prompt disclosure of the injury, that disclosure is, ultimately, irrelevant to the question of claimant’s = duty to repay benefits received erroneously.&n= bsp; The material misrepresentation giving rise to claimant’s repa= yment obligation was his failure to disclose the job offer from The Stanley Work= s in September 2003. As the ESB f= ound, the claim cards claimant filed with DET after his accident required claima= nt to certify that he had not refused an offer of suitable work since injuring h= is hand. Claimant does not disp= ute that he was offered a job that he could have performed but for his injured hand. By statute, claimant w= as ineligible for benefits while his hand prevented him from doing suitable work. Claimant may perceive = the repayment order as a penalty but that perception is misplaced. The ESB’s order simply refl= ects the fact that claimant was paid benefits in error because his disabling ha= nd injury made him ineligible by rendering him both unable and unavailable for suitable work.
BY THE COURT:
John A. Dooley, Associate Justice
Denise R. Johnson, Associate Justice
Frederic W. Allen, Chief Ju= stice (Ret.),