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RONNIE DOWDY TRUCKING SERVICE, INCORPORATED, APPELLANT
vs.
DIRECTOR, ARKANSAS EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT AND GEORGETTA HUNTER, APPELLEES
 
Case:
No. E95-215
 
Location:
COURT OF APPEALS OF ARKANSAS, DIVISION TWO
 
Date:
August 27, 1997, Opinion Delivered
 
Attorneys:
TIM WEAVER, BATESVILLE.
PHYLLIS EDWARDS, LITTLE ROCK.
 
Court:
SAM BIRD, Judge. Robbins, C.J., and Stroud, J., agree.
 
Author:
The Hon. Justice Sam Bird
 

Appellee, Georgetta Hunter, was terminated March 8, 1995, from her job as a truck driver by her employer, Ronnie Dowdy Trucking Service, Inc., appellant, after the company alleged that she failed a drug test by testing positive for marijuana. After appellee was denied unemployment benefits by the Employment Security Department, she appealed to the Arkansas Appeal Tribunal. A telephone hearing was held on April 29, 1995; appellee appeared, but appellant did not.

Appellee presented testimony and denied any drug use. She said she provided a urine sample at a doctor's office, and two days later she was advised to contact the medical review officer, who asked her if she had provided a urine sample and if she was taking any prescription medications. Appellee testified that she then called the safety director and was told that she had been discharged because her test had come back positive for marijuana. Appellee denied using marijuana and stated that she knew she would be administered a drug test and would not have ingested marijuana. She asked to be retested, but was told that retesting was not allowed. Appellee also testified at the hearing that she had passed three other random drug tests in the past.

Based on the appellee's testimony in which she denied any drug usage and stated that she had not seen the drug test, the Appeals Referee found that the record was devoid of any credible evidence concerning the drug test. The Referee found that the employer had not met its burden of proof by the preponderance of the evidence, and that the claimant should not have been disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. The decision by the agency denying benefits was reversed, and the appellee was awarded benefits.

After receiving the Appeals Referee's decision, appellant requested to reopen the hearing so that it could present additional evidence. A hearing was held on May 1, 1995, to determine if there was good cause for appellant's failure to appear at the scheduled hearing. Carol Duncan, a personnel director for the appellant, testified that notice of the original hearing was received and placed in appellee's file, but was forgotten until after the Tribunal's decision. She said the notice of the hearing was filed, but it was not noted on anyone's calendar. The Appeals Referee found that the appellant had not shown good cause for failing to appear at the hearing; therefore, appellant's request to reopen the hearing was denied and the decision awarding benefits to appellee was upheld.

Appellant filed an appeal with the Board of Review, arguing that the Appeal Tribunal had erred in failing to reopen the case and in finding that the appellee was discharged for reasons other than misconduct in connection with her work. The Board of Review affirmed the Appeal Tribunal's finding that the appellant had not shown good cause for its failure to appear at the scheduled hearing and that appellee was discharged for reasons other than misconduct in connection with her work. The Board found that appellant had not proven its case because the claimant credibly denied smoking marijuana, that the appellant did not refute that testimony by presenting the drug test, and that the appellant had not presented any testimony regarding the testing procedures.

In reviewing a decision of the Board of Review, this court does not conduct a de novo review; instead, the findings of fact by the Board of Review are conclusive if those findings are supported by substantial evidence. Cowan v. Director, 56 Ark. App. 17, 936 S.W.2d 766 (1997); Ark. Code Ann. SEC. 11-10-529 (c)(1) (Repl. 1996). Further, this court reviews all evidence in the light most favorable to the Board's findings. Even when evidence exists upon which this court might reach a different conclusion, the scope of our review is limited to a determination of whether the Board could reasonably reach its decision upon the evidence that was before it. Cowan, supra.

Appellant brings this appeal arguing two points: first, that the Board of Review erred by refusing to reopen the case at the Appeal Tribunal level to allow additional evidence regarding the reasons for appellee's termination; and second, that the Board of Review erred in finding that the appellee had been discharged from her employment for reasons other than misconduct in connection with her work. We affirm.

A case may be reopened upon a showing of good cause for not appearing at the scheduled hearing. Ark. Code Ann. SEC. 11-10-524 (Repl. 1996). At the hearing on appellant's request to reopen the initial hearing, Carol Duncan, appellant's representative, testified that appellant received notice of the scheduled hearing, but that the notice was put in appellee's personnel file, that the hearing was not noted on anyone's calendar, and that she did not know why a representative of appellant did not appear at the telephone hearing. Appellant offered no further evidence in support of its request to reopen the hearing. On the evidence presented by appellant, the Appeal Tribunal found, and the Board of Review agreed, that good cause had not been shown that the hearing should be reopened, and we agree that this finding is supported by substantial evidence. Appellant's evidence was, essentially, that it received the notice of the hearing, filed it away, and forgot about it. We hold that substantial evidence exists to affirm the decision of the Board of Review that the appellant has failed to show good cause for its failure to appear.

For its second point on appeal, appellant argues that the Board of Review erred in finding that the appellee was discharged for reasons other than misconduct and that she should not be able to recover benefits. The Board found that the appellant did not appear to testify about the drug test, did not present documentation on that issue, did not present the drug test and did not present any testimony regarding the testing procedure. Appellant argues that since appellee testified that she took the drug test and was told by appellant's representative that she had failed the drug test, then there was evidence in the record that appellee tested positive for marijuana. We do not agree. Appellee's statements were nothing more than a recitation of the reasons she was given by her employer regarding why she was discharged, reasons with which she disagreed. Appellant did not appear at the hearing and did not offer any evidence in support of those reasons. In the absence of evidence to support it, a hearsay statement of the employer's reasons for discharging appellee does not constitute substantial evidence. Richards v. Daniels, 1 Ark. App. 331, 615 S.W.2d 399 (1981).

Appellant further argues that its response to the Notice to Last Employer that states that appellee was discharged due to a positive drug screen is sufficient evidence to find that appellee was discharged for misconduct. We do not agree with this argument either. In the absence of evidence to support the reasons given for appellee's discharge, statements such as this constitute nothing more than unproven allegations. Price Lumber Co. v. Daniels, 270 Ark. 297, 604 S.W.2d 579 (Ark. App. 1980).

We hold that the determination of the Board of Review is supported by substantial evidence, and we affirm.

Robbins, C.J., and Stroud, J., agree.