SACRAMENTO – California's Third District Court of Appeal recently found that an associate of Solidarity movement leader Lech Walesa who became a political refugee and was later fired for misconduct by University of California - Davis is not entitled to unemployment benefits.
In its 12-page opinion issued Dec. 27, a three-judge panel affirmed a Sacramento Superior Court's decision in the lawsuit filed by Jaroslaw "Jerry" Waszczuk that denied Waszczuk's petition to overturn the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board's finding that he was not qualified for unemployment benefits.
"We find no merit in any of the contentions and affirm," the appeals court said.
The appeals court also ruled that regents of the University of California will recover its appeals costs.
Waszczuk has represented himself throughout the case.
Appeals court Justice Elena J. Duarte wrote the opinion in which Justices M. Kathleen Butz and Cole Blease concurred.
Waszczuk, who was present with Walesa during negotiations with government officials amid the Solidarity movement of the early 1980s, fled communist Poland and was granted asylum in the U.S. before he went to work at UC-Davis in 1999. Waszczuk was an associate development engineer and worked in UC - Davis' heating, ventilation and air conditioning shop, according to the background portion of the opinion.
After he was fired a few weeks before Christmas 2012 "for violating policies regarding work place violence and hate and discrimination," Waszczuk's application for unemployment was denied because he had been discharged for misconduct, the opinion said. "Substantiated allegations" against Waszczuk included "the use of profanities and derogatory comments about other employees," including two supervisors, the opinion said.
Waszczuk's lawsuit followed an appeal hearing in February 2013 before an administrative law judge, who affirmed he had been discharged for misconduct. "He contends there was no showing of misconduct and he was denied a fair hearing," the opinion said. "He also raises issues concerning the length of his suspension before discharge, the lack of performance evaluations for the last two years and the absence of progressive discipline."
In his appeal, Waszczuk cited the California Fourth District Court of Appeal 1993 case Jensen v. Hewlett-Packard Co. to support his point about not receiving performance evaluations in 2011 and 2012.
"The issue in Jensen was whether a negative performance evaluation would support an action for libel," the opinion said. "The case has no application here; it does not address whether a performance evaluation is required before a finding of discharge for misconduct. It is unclear what point Waszczuk is trying to make about the missing evaluations. He was on leave for most of that time."