DEVON J.A. BURROUGHS, Petitioner,
GREEN APPLE, LLC, APPLE GOLD GROUP (DBA) APPLEBEE'S, and R. GLEN PETERSON, CHIEF COUNSEL, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, Respondents.
in the Court of Appeals 22 May 2019.
by respondent Division of Employment Security from order
entered 9 August 2017 by Judge Donald W. Stephens in Wake
County No. 17 CVS 3679 Superior Court.
McCullers Reece for petitioner-appellee.
Respondent-appellant North Carolina Department of Commerce,
Division of Employment Security Chief Counsel R. Glen
Peterson, by Camilla F. McClain.
brief filed for respondent-appellee Green Apple, LLC.
North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Employment
Security ("the Division"), appeals from the
superior court's order reversing the Board of
Review's decision that Petitioner Devon J.A. Burroughs
was disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation
benefits. We affirm.
began working as a server for Applebee's in September
2015. Burroughs reported a wage-and-hour concern to Human
Resources in May 2016, complaining of nonpayment for hours
worked. Following an investigation, Applebee's issued a
check to Burroughs in the amount of $1, 299.45.
June 2016, Burroughs filed another complaint with Human
Resources alleging that the assistant manager had engaged in
a pattern of retaliatory behavior against him that included
physical contact-specifically, "pushing [him] in [his]
back" on one occasion. Human Resources employee Vanessa
Roman opened an investigation into the complaint, and spoke
with the assistant manager as well as other employees. Ms.
Roman testified that, based on her investigation, she was
unable to substantiate Burroughs's allegations.
July 2016, Ms. Roman held a meeting with Burroughs, the
assistant manager, and the general manager. At the meeting,
all parties were asked to sign a document stating that they
"would all agree to move forward and align with the
organization's guiding principles." The document
also contained an acknowledgment that Applebee's had
"completed [its] investigation into the concerns raised
by" Burroughs's complaint, and had taken
"corrective actions as needed."
agreed to sign that portion of the document in which he
pledged to abide by his employer's expectations moving
forward, but he refused to sign the portion acknowledging
that Applebee's had made a complete investigation into
his complaint and that appropriate corrective action had been
taken. According to Ms. Roman, Burroughs
said he would only provide me with additional details to
support his allegations if I provided him a copy of my
investigation report. Since I was the one that conducted the
investigation I was the lead on that case, I expressed to him
that I had completed a thorough investigation into his
concerns and that the document that we were asking him to
sign was only a tool to memorialize our previous conversation
about alignment and moving forward and again continuing to
provide our guests with excellent service. He still refused