Plaintiff filed for unemployment benefits on May 30, 2020, because she was unable to work. During the referee hearing, the Plaintiff testified that her doctor wanted her to be out of work due to pulmonary sarcoidosis, a condition that made her high risk for contracting COVID. The Plaintiff produced documents in support of her claim, one document in which her doctor advised her not to quit her job, but she should avoid working in close proximity with unvaccinated individuals. Another document stated that the Plaintiff was unable to perform job functions due to her condition. During the hearing, the Plaintiff testified that she had not received a return-to-work form. The referee found that the Plaintiff was not entitled to benefits, and that decision was affirmed by the Board.
The Plaintiff was paid benefits for several weeks until the Department of Labor found she was ineligible to receive benefits. The Department is now seeking repayment of those amounts paid to the Plaintiff.
On appeal, the Court reviews the Board’s decision for substantial evidence and determines whether it is free from legal error. The Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing entitlement to receive unemployment benefits. To be eligible for benefits, the Plaintiff must be “able to work and available for work.” Being cleared to work with restrictions an employer cannot accommodate does not satisfy the requirements to be able and available for work.
The Plaintiff argued that she was entitled to benefits because she was at high risk for COVID and should stay home, but she was unable to work from home due to not having the internet and her employer would not allow her to work from home. Therefore, the Court affirmed the Board’s decision because the Board’s decision relied on the Plaintiff not being able and available to work.
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Brummell v. Unempl. Ins. App. Bd., (Del. Super. Aug. 19, 2022), unreported.