In a decision that allowed Batavia City Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian to receive unemployment benefits after her termination from Wal-Mart, an administrative law judge in Buffalo found that Christian's supervisor previously let employees eat damaged food items.
Mark Sokolowski said he found the testimony of Christian about the matter more credible than the testimony of the Wal-Mart representative, who is not named in Sokolowski's ruling.
Rose Mary Christian, who is a candidate for District 7 County Legislature, dropped a copy of the ruling off at The Batavian's office this afternoon. Christian's termination from Wal-Mart became a public issue when former Democrat Tim Paine provide an e-mail to local media where Christian admits to fellow council members that Wal-Mart let her go. Paine is admittedly disgruntled over what he sees as Christian blocking his plan to run for City Council this year.
The ruling states:
"Although the claimant acknowledged that she was aware that she was supposed to scan a damaged item and throw it out, since the claimant's supervisor allowed deli associates to eat damaged food items as samples, I am not persuaded that the claimant was aware that she placed her job in jeopardy when she ate a piece of cake on January 26, 2008," Sokolowski wrote. "It is also significant that the claimant was not the first associate to eat a piece of cake, reinforcing to the claimant that it would be okay to eat the cake. At worst the claimant used poor judgment when she ate a piece of cake on January 26, 2008, however her poor judgment in this instance does not rise to the level of misconduct within the meaning of the Unemployment Insurance Law."
"Accordingly," he adds, "I conclude that he claimant was separated from her employment under non-disqualifying circumstances."
Sokolowski overturned a prior Department of Labor finding that Christian was not qualified for unemployment benefits because of her termination.