Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division
from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission
Before: Cynthia L. Martin, Presiding Judge, Lisa White
Hardwick, Judge and Alok Ahuja, Judge
Cynthia L. Martin, Judge
Truckload, Inc. ("Con-Way") appeals from the Labor
and Industrial Relations Commission's
("Commission") decision awarding unemployment
benefits to James Wood ("Wood"). Con-Way argues
that the facts found by the Commission do not support the
award and that there was not sufficient competent evidence in
the record to support the award because the evidence
indicated that Wood was discharged for misconduct connected
with his work as described in section 288.050.2,
disqualifying him from receiving unemployment benefits. We
affirm the Commission's decision that Wood did not commit
misconduct as defined by section 288.030.1(23)(a) and (b).
However, because the Commission did not address whether Wood
committed misconduct as defined by section 288.030.1(23)(e),
an issue that was fairly before the Commission for decision,
we reverse the conclusion that Wood is entitled to receive
unemployment benefits and remand for further findings and
and Procedural Background
began working for Con-Way on October 7, 2010, as an
over-the-road truck driver. On April 6, 2016, Wood accepted a
load of an environmentally hazardous liquid for shipment in
Pennsylvania. Wood testified that he strapped the load down
according to company policy and starting driving toward his
destination. Shortly after he began driving, Wood reached a
highway entrance ramp. Wood misjudged the corner, taking it
at a higher rate of speed than his load would allow, and
overturned the truck and trailer. Con-Way formally terminated
Wood's employment on April 7, 2016.
applied for unemployment benefits on April 14, 2016. Con-Way
contested the application, and asserted that Wood was
terminated for misconduct connected with work. In particular,
Con-Way stated that "Wood failed to maintain control of
assigned tractor, overturned the assigned tractor or trailer,
and failed to maintain a satisfactory safety record which are
grounds for automatic discharge pursuant to . . . [the]
Employee Handbook." Con-Way attached a copy of the
employee handbook to its protest letter and made reference to
three provisions set forth in written employee conduct
policies. The relevant employee conduct policies provide:
for Automatic Discharge:
The following are merely illustrative, not exclusive, of
those activities that may result in automatic discharge.
Automatic discharge may occur for any reason listed below as
a commission or omission:
. . . .
14. Overturning the assigned tractor or trailer.
. . . .
17. Unacceptable pattern or history of unsafe driving,
including but not limited to third (3rd) party complaints,
moving violations, crashes, or CSA scores in excess of
. . . .
30. Failure to maintain control of the assigned tractor.
letter also referred to ten other accidents in which Wood had
been involved while employed by Con-Way. Con-Way's letter
indicated that Wood had been warned "that further
disciplinary action up to and including discharge would occur
if he had more crashes or acts of [an] unsafe nature."
Con-Way alleged that Wood's accident on April 6, 2016,
was because Wood "was driving to [sic] fast on an enter
[sic] ramp to the highway. He was given a [sic] unsafe speed
ticket for this accident."
deputy determined that Wood was disqualified from receiving
unemployment benefits because Con-Way discharged Wood for
misconduct connected with work. In particular, the deputy
indicated that a denial of benefits was appropriate because
Wood "was discharged because he was involved in an
accident" as a result of "driving too fast."
appealed the deputy's determination to the Appeals
Tribunal, arguing that the accident was not his fault because
the load had shifted due to the shipper's negligence, and
arguing that there was no proof that he was speeding. The
Appeals Tribunal held a telephone hearing in which the
referee described the issue as whether "[Wood] left work
voluntarily or was discharged, " and if Wood was
discharged, whether the discharge was for misconduct or not.
The Appeals Tribunal heard testimony from a Con-Way human
resources associate, a Con-Way safety analyst, and Wood. The
Con-Way safety analyst testified that when Wood reported the
accident, he stated that he "took [the entrance ramp]
too fast" though he did not know his exact speed. ...