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Western Kentucky Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc. v. Runyon

Supreme Court of Kentucky

June 20, 2013

WESTERN KENTUCKY COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY, INC., Appellant
v.
Trevor RUNYON and Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission, Appellees.

Rehearing Denied Oct. 24, 2013.

Page 114

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 115

Frank Hampton Moore, Jr., Matthew Porter Cook, for Appellant.

Amy F. Howard, for Appellee, Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission.

OPINION

CUNNINGHAM, Justice.

Appellant, Western Kentucky Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc., (" WKCC" ) is a soft drink distributorship. Appellee, Trevor Runyon, was employed at WKCC as a night loader from June, 2006 to March 26, 2009. He typically worked five shifts per week, with his days off being Wednesday and Saturday.

However, for several weeks preceding March 26, 2009, Runyon had been coming to WKCC on Wednesdays to work extra hours. Though a normal shift was approximately eight to ten hours, Runyon would work the first six hours. His shift supervisor, Cecil Webb, explained that this arrangement was permitted so that Runyon could accumulate enough hours per week to maintain his full-time status. Thus, for over a month, Runyon had worked at WKCC on Wednesdays from noon to about 6 p.m.

Runyon's employment with WKCC was not entirely harmonious. He was suspended for three days in 2008 due to tardiness and absenteeism. His supervisor also complained that Runyon was difficult to work with and could not get along with his co-workers.

On Sunday, March 22, 2009, Runyon was scheduled to work. Runyon testified that he called the weekend supervisor, Justin Mercer, that morning and informed Mercer that he could not work due to illness. Runyon also missed his scheduled shift the following day. Again, Runyon claims he notified Webb by telephone. Webb denies ever speaking with Runyon that day. Webb also testified that he asked Mercer if Runyon had called in the previous day and Mercer told him that Runyon had not.

On Tuesday, March 24, 2009, Runyon worked his normally scheduled shift. Webb testified that Runyon approached him following the Tuesday shift and asked if he could work the next day. According to Webb, Runyon specifically wanted to make up the hours he had missed on Sunday and Monday. Webb agreed, though he reprimanded Runyon for not having called in to report his absence on Sunday or Monday. Further, Webb testified that Runyon asked to work all day on Wednesday to make up for the missed hours. Again, Runyon denies this conversation and testified that he arrived at work on Wednesday per his recent habit.

On Wednesday, March 25, 2009, Runyon arrived at work at the start of the shift. However, he clocked out approximately two hours after the shift began. When Webb inquired, Runyon said he was leaving. He told Runyon that he could not " come and go as he pleased." Runyon did not reply, except to say he was " taking care of business," and offered no specific explanation as to why he was leaving before the shift had ended.

The following day, Thursday, March 26, 2009, Runyon again arrived at WKCC for his normally scheduled shift. Webb immediately discharged Runyon for his unexcused absences, chronic tardiness, and leaving the previous day without providing ...


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