LaShawn P. TYLER, Petitioner,
GEORGE WASHINGTON MEDICAL FACULTY ASSOCIATES, Respondent.
Argued March 5, 2013.
Ryan C. Morris, Washington, DC, for petitioner.
Raymond C. Baldwin, Washington, DC, with whom Virginia E. Robinson was on the brief, for respondent.
Before EASTERLY and McLEESE, Associate Judges, and FERREN, Senior Judge.
McLEESE, Associate Judge:
An Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ" ) at the Office of Administrative Hearings (" OAH" ) found that petitioner LaShawn P. Tyler was disqualified from receiving certain unemployment-compensation benefits, because she had been terminated from her job with George Washington Medical Faculty Associates (" GWMFA" ) for misconduct. On review, Ms. Tyler contends that the ALJ erred as a matter of law in finding that she committed misconduct and that GWMFA should be equitably estopped from asserting that Ms. Tyler committed misconduct. We vacate and remand for further proceedings.
After holding an evidentiary hearing, the ALJ found the following. Ms. Tyler worked for GWMFA at George Washington University Hospital as a Front End Patient Service Specialist. In May 2010, a patient's financial information was stolen at the hospital and used to make transactions. GWMFA's Patient Relations Manager and Privacy Officer, Keisha Mullings-Smith, investigated the matter. As part of the investigation, Ms. Mullings-Smith interviewed all staff members who had access to the patient's file or worked in the area where the incident occurred.
GWMFA had a policy prohibiting employees from discussing matters under investigation, in part to prevent interviewed employees from influencing employees who had not yet been questioned. Before Ms. Tyler was interviewed, her co-worker Kenyetta Howard was questioned by Ms. Mullings-Smith. Soon thereafter, Ms. Howard revealed to Ms. Tyler information about her interview and the pending investigation, including that the matter concerned stolen credit-card information. Ms. Tyler subsequently told her supervisor, Cynthia Leonard, that Ms. Howard had shared this information with her.
The next morning, Ms. Mullings-Smith interviewed Ms. Tyler. At the conclusion of the interview, Ms. Mullings-Smith
asked Ms. Tyler whether she had talked with anyone about the investigation or about Ms. Howard's interview of the prior day. Ms. Tyler replied that she had not discussed that information.
Following the interview, Ms. Leonard reported to Ms. Mullings-Smith that Ms. Tyler had in fact previously discussed with others the investigation and Ms. Howard's interview. After speaking with Ms. Leonard, Ms. Mullings-Smith interviewed Ms. Tyler a second time, on the same day as Ms. Tyler's initial interview. Ms. Mullings-Smith specifically asked Ms. Tyler whether she had learned any information from Ms. Howard about Ms. Howard's interview. Ms. Tyler once again responded that she had not. Ms. Tyler also stated that she did not recall making statements to anyone else concerning Ms. Howard's interview.
Following Ms. Tyler's second interview, Ms. Mullings-Smith indicated to Ms. Tyler that Ms. Mullings-Smith would allow Ms. Tyler to change her previous statements and would " honor a new statement." The same day, Ms. Mullings-Smith interviewed Ms. Tyler a third time. At that point Ms. Tyler admitted that Ms. Howard had discussed the details of her interview and that Ms. Howard had told Ms. Tyler that the investigation related to credit-card theft. Ms. Tyler apologized for her actions and explained that she was initially untruthful because she ...