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The District Court, Bernalillo County


764 P.2d 1316 Supreme Court of New Mexico.

Billie J. RODMAN, Petitioner-Appellant, v.

NEW MEXICO EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT and Presbyterian Hospital, Respondents– Appellees.

No. 17721.Nov. 30, 1988.

The District Court, Bernalillo County, Ross C. Sanchez, D.J., upheld an administrative decision denying unemployment compensation to the claimant. Claimant appealed. The Supreme Court, Ransom, J., held that the incident precipitating the claimant’s termination demonstrated a willful disregard for her employer’s interests.


Stowers, J., specially concurred and filed an opinion.

Attorneys and Law Firms

**1317 *759 Juan A. Gonzalez, Legal Aid Society of Albuquerque, Inc., Albuquerque, for petitioner-appellant. Connie Reischman, New Mexico Employment Sec. Dept., Albuquerque, for respondents-appellees.


RANSOM, Justice.

An administrative decision of the New Mexico Employment Security Department denying unemployment compensation to Billie J. Rodman was reviewed on certiorari by the district court. Rodman now appeals to this Court from the order of the district court affirming the administrative decision.

Rodman had been employed by Presbyterian Hospital as a unit secretary for nearly eight years when, on February 17, 1987, she was terminated under hospital personnel policies following a “third corrective action” notice. Prior restrictions had been placed on Rodman’s conduct due to personal problems adversely impacting her place of work.

At issue is whether the misconduct which warranted termination from employment rose to the level of misconduct that would warrant denial of unemployment compensation under NMSA 1978, Section 51–1–7 of the Unemployment Compensation Law.

The Department reasonably summarizes the substantial evidence as follows: Rodman was reprimanded in June of 1986 for receiving an inordinate number of personal telephone calls and visitors at her work station, which was disruptive to her own work and to her co-workers. The formal reprimand set forth conditions to prevent further corrective action.

Rodman was to have no personal telephone calls during work hours outside of a designated break or dinner time, in which event they were to occur in an area not visible to patients, physicians, or other department staff. When leaving the department for dinner, Rodman was to report to her immediate supervisor and was not to leave the hospital. Rodman was to make every effort to resolve the matters in her personal life that were causing problems at work.

Nevertheless, according to the testimony of her supervisor, extremely disruptive telephone calls continued. The doctors were beginning to comment on it. The staff was getting more distressed. According to her supervisor, “[A]gain we talked about the visits, the behavior at the desk.

When it got pretty bad with the phone calls, Billie would slam charts, pushchairs, and be a little abrupt with the people she worked with.” Another written reprimand in November of 1986 warned Rodman that her job was in jeopardy if the disruptive behavior continued. The supervisor established restrictions prohibiting the claimant from having visitors at the department and instructed her to notify security if there was a potential problem.