Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Williams
James F. Wheeler Appellant
NN Metal Stampings, Inc., et al. Appellees
Court No. 17 CI 026
J. Smith, for appellant.
L. Jennings, for appellee NN Metal Stampings, Inc.
DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, and Eric A. Baum, Managing
Attorney, for appellee Director, Ohio Department of Job and
DECISION AND JUDGMENT
1} Appellant, James Wheeler, appeals the judgment of
the Williams County Court of Common Pleas, affirming the
Unemployment Compensation Review Commission's denial of
his application for unemployment benefits.
A. Facts and Procedural Background
2} Appellant initiated this proceeding by filing an
application for unemployment benefits with appellee, the Ohio
Department of Job and Family Services ("ODJFS"),
following his resignation from employment with appellee, NN
Metal Stampings, Inc. ("employer").
3} For a period of 14 years, appellant worked as a
maintenance worker with employer. In that capacity, appellant
was expected to perform as an electrician from time to time.
Appellant was provided certain safety equipment to protect
him while he worked on the employer's electrical systems,
some of which operated at 480 volts. According to appellant,
the safety gloves that employer provided him were out of date
and unfit for their intended purpose. Further, appellant
claimed that his coworker, who was hired in June 2016, was
not provided personal protective equipment. Moreover,
appellant stated that unqualified individuals were working on
equipment without following lockout/tagout procedures.
Appellant alleged that he informed his supervisor of these
concerns on June 14, 2016.
4} On September 1, 2016, appellant approached his
supervisor to inform him of the need for new safety gloves.
Employer claimed that this was the first time it had been
made aware of the need for new safety equipment.
Appellant's supervisor allegedly directed appellant and
his coworker to "do the best they could with what they
had." Later that day, appellant brought his safety
concerns to an OSHA investigator that was onsite conducting
an unrelated investigation.
5} According to the record produced below, the OSHA
investigator discussed appellant's safety issues with
employer, and the requested safety equipment was ordered that
day. The equipment was delivered on September 9, 2016.
Appellant tendered his resignation two days prior to the
arrival of the equipment.
6} On September 11, 2016, appellant filed an
application for unemployment benefits with ODJFS. ODJFS
reviewed appellant's application and issued its
"determination" on October 4, 2016. In its
determination, ODJFS found that "facts establish that
[appellant] did not inform the employer of his/her concerns,
or allow the employer reasonable time to correct the
situation. * * * Therefore, no benefits will be paid until
the claimant obtains employment subject to an unemployment
compensation law * * *."
7} Appellant appealed ODJFS's determination to
the ODJFS redetermination unit. On November 10, 2016, ODJFS
issued a "redetermination" in which it affirmed its
determination for the same reasons that were set forth in the
determination. Appellant then appealed the redetermination