Wagstaff v. Department Of Employment Security

826 P.2d 1069 (1992)


The Air Force received information that civilian maintenance personnel at HAFB were using illegal drugs both on and off the base. Several civilian employees were apprehended for possession, use, and distribution of controlled substances. They were immediately removed from their employment on the base. Several of P's co-workers were among this group. The investigation did not turn up any tangible evidence concerning P. P was called in for questioning. P admitted using drugs on one occasion while employed at the base. Aside from that one incident, and trying marijuana in high school some twenty years earlier, P had never used drugs. P voluntarily submitted to a urinalysis. The test proved negative for drug metabolites. The Air Force terminated P's employment in January 1990. P applied for unemployment benefits through D. D denied P's claim for benefits. P requested a formal hearing. At the formal hearing before an ALJ, P admitted participating in one lunchtime cocaine incident but denied any other illegal drug use, and claimed that it was a one-time indiscretion. The Air Force introduced its report through the testimony of one of several investigators who participated in the report's preparation. The report detailed allegations by those workers of P's drug use. The Air Force failed to produce the two co-workers who had implicated D in other incidents of alleged drug use. The ALJ found that the Air Force did not adequately establish the culpability element of a 'just cause' discharge and reversed D's initial decision. D's Board of Review, by a 2-1 vote, reversed the ALJ. P appealed. In part, P claims that D erroneously considered inadmissible hearsay evidence when reaching its decision.