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Chisholm v. Georgia Dep't of Labor

Court of Appeals of Georgia

October 3, 2014

CHISHOLM
v.
GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR et al

Unemployment compensation. DeKalb Superior Court. Before Judge Hunter.

Michael P. Pryor, for appellant.

Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Bryan K. Webb, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Romy D. Smith, Kimberly B. Lewis, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellees.

BARNES, Presiding Judge. Boggs and Branch, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 433

Barnes, Presiding Judge.

Sheralyn R. Chisholm's employer had a policy requiring employees to report arrests within five days of their occurrence. Chisholm was discharged from employment when she reported her arrest seven days late. Following the grant of her application for interlocutory appeal, Chisholm now appeals the superior court's order affirming a decision by the Board of Review of the Department of Labor (the " Board of Review" ) to disqualify her from receiving unemployment benefits because of her failure to report her arrest within the five-day deadline. Because Chisholm could not have reasonably expected that a short, immaterial delay in reporting her arrest to her employer would result in her termination, we reverse.

Judicial review of an administrative decision requires the court to determine that the findings of fact are supported by any evidence and to examine the soundness of the conclusions of law that are based upon the findings of fact. When this Court reviews a superior court's order in an administrative proceeding, our duty is not to review whether the record supports the superior court's decision but whether the record supports the final decision of the administrative agency.

(Citations, punctuation and footnote omitted.) Davane v. Thurmond, 300 Ga.App. 474, 475 (685 S.E.2d 446) (2009). Mindful of these principles, we turn to the record in the present case.

The evidence adduced at the administrative hearing showed that in November 2010, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities (the " Behavioral Health Department" or the " Department" ) hired Chisholm to work as a nurse educator at its regional hospital in Columbus. During her orientation, Chisholm signed a form acknowledging her responsibility to review and comply [329 Ga.App. 189] with the Department's personnel policies, including Policy Number 1201, Standards of Conduct and Ethics in Government (the " Standards of Conduct" ). The Standards of Conduct totaled 11 pages and included the following section:

D. DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
1. All applicants/employees are required to disclose felony convictions on APPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT and convictions and/or pending charges on STATE SECURITY QUESTIONNAIRE/LOYALTY OATH Forms.
a. Falsification or misrepresentation of information, including criminal history, is prohibited and may result in an offer of employment being withdrawn from an applicant or separation of an employee.
b. Material falsification or misrepresentation of any information, including criminal history, will result in an offer of employment being withdrawn from an applicant or separation of an employee. " Material" refers to information which directly influences and/or impacts the hiring ...

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