Employment and Zelma M. Mitchell

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PA205-02
Introduction to Legal Analysis and Writing
February 21, 2012

Issue
What is considered misconduct under New Mexico law?
Rule
The New Mexico Supreme Court explained in Zelma M. Mitchell v. Lovington Good Samaritan Center Inc., 555 P. 2d 696 (N.M. 1976) that misconduct is the blatant disregard of an employer’s interest and acting in deliberate violation of the standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee. The court also stated that they do not recognize misconduct as inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, or failure in good performance. Analysis

According to the New Mexico Supreme Court’s definition of misconduct there must be a blatant disregard of the employer’s interest. Natalie did not show much if any blatant disregard to her employer as there was not a rule at Biddy’s regarding employees getting tattoos. She was simply told by a fellow employee not to get one that can be seen while wearing her Biddy’s uniform. There must also be an action of deliberate violation of the standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of their employee. Biddy’s does not have a written manual or guidelines explaining what they consider gross misconduct worthy of termination so Natalie had no set standards of behavior to follow. The court’s list of actions they do not consider misconduct contains inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, and failure in good performance. Considering there is no formal code of conduct for Biddy’s Natalie’s behavior could be placed in the unsatisfactory conduct category. Conclusion

The probable result in this issue is that Natalie’s behavior will not be considered misconduct. The fact that Natalie did not break any formally stated rule at Biddy’s proves that she did not show blatant disregard to her employer and since Biddy’s did not have any formally written rules she had no idea what was considered a deliberate violation of the standards of behavior. For her to deliberately...
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