MELINDA POWE; ELEANOR MALDEN; BERNARDO PENALOSA; CHAD DITULLIO; SCOTT MATTHEWS; JOYCE BLASZAK; JOHN SHELTR; SUTEE LUCKMUNKONG; DAVID PUSATERE; ROBERT CASEY; ROSE FLORES; ROSEMARIE MIRANDA; LEONA NG; LAURA ALTON; CHIAO MARTIN; WILFREDO MALIXI; MARIA TOLENTINO; EVELYN CSABA; NENITA DANAO; NORMA GAYOSO; CECILIA HARDIE; ELIZA FECURKA; GUILLERMO LIGSAY; JOYCE SALES; JOHNNY PEREIRA; ERLINDA BAYANI; CROSSO GUMALO; IFELITA GUIUA; MA RACHEL MORALES; FLORDELIZA NICOLAS; SARA ENCISO; CHANDANA PALISKARA; GUSTAVO OBREGON BANOS; KAREN LEONGAS; PRAVIN PATEL; JUDITH MOORE; ANTONIO ARNAIZ; ROMILIO MIGUEL; MARIA ESPINOZA; JEFFREY OPPENHEIM; ANN GIALITIS; AIDA REDONDO; JENNIFER ESGUERRA; GLORIA SARNICOLA; CLEO SANCHEZ-DUDAS; REGINALD ESGUERRA; RONALD ESGUERRA; CAROL HORN; DIANE ANGIS; FRED BIEL; CYNTHIA CORINO; LAWRENCE LEMASTERS; GREGORY IMBERGER; JOSEPH FIGUEROA, JR.; SANDRA SPIOTTO; KRISTIN MCCRAY; FRANK COLOSIMO; CAROL LA GESSE; JAMES SHUSTERIC; STEPHEN RAYMOND; LINDA TOLBERT; RACHEL WILLIAMS; JUNE SMITH; SYDNEY PORTER; BETTY MENDOZA; JESSICA SPANGLER; PAMELA WALLACE; LA SHAUN THOMAS; KRISTEL ESTES; LORETTA VILLAS;
TRACI KAHL; RICKY TORRES; ANITA GOBOZY; ROBERT ABLANG; MICHAEL SHORE; TANYA SHIMONO; ELAINE FLORES; MARK WALLACE; JANET CARR; EVELYN ANDERSON; KAREN CHISUM; LORIS ACCOR; LINDA DEROOY; CATHLEEN KASSLER; LIWAYWAY CANILLO; TERESA JAMES; TRICHIA TERFLINGER; MARGARET SPENCE; SANDEE HEDGES; PATRICIA SAUNDERS; STEPHANIE CARR; MARGARITA MIRON; CATHY ROBERTS; GEORGINA PISORS; DARLENE SHIMONO; TANYA OSTERMAN; RANDY CARR; ALFRED COVARRUBIAS; EDITH DE ALBA; ROSE MARK; EDWARD GARCIA; AUDREY CUASITO-MARQUIN; EDNA TAKUSHI; TERESITA ANDRES; MYRNA MARI; NATALIE HERRERA; LYNN BUTAY; CRAIG LEE; MELANIA MAMAUAG; REBECA DECASTRO; MELODY VIVO; ROSARIO FARILLAS; JAN CHRISTIAN MARQUINA; PAUL PANALIGAN; BELINDA BURKHALTER; MITCHELL LAURSEN; MARILOU ESCOBAR; LEA RAYMUNDO; ROMULO TOLENTINO; GONZALO YABUT; LEI ANN LACONSAY; VENETA MAYOR; BHANU JOSHI; SUSAN HORTIZUELA; MAI TO; MARIA MARTINEZ; ROSE SCHIAVONE; MARY CHRIS CELOZA; AIQIN NIU; PAULA HOLMES; MARCIA MORGAN; RUBIA GUENETTE; EDWARD MIX; KAREN MCNARY; HELEN GLASS; JOETTA LESTER; BRANDY MAUS; ELIZABETH HANN; TERESA GILBERT; BENEDICCION QUINTO; RICARDO GASCA; KAREN
ANDREWS; CHRIS KREY; GLADYS REVERING; SHANNON ECKMAN; LEANNA TRINIDAD; BEVERLY WEGLAR; SANDRA EVERETT; COREY VERNON; LI JOHNSON; RHONDA ADAMOVICH; PHYLLIS MURRAY; JUANITA SHAMBLIN; EFREN SACLOLO; SHEILA FITTON; WILLIAM DAISH; JAMIE BENAVIDEZ; ROBIN COLEMAN; JENNIFER RATAGICK; MARIETTA DASALLA-DENNE; WINIFRED BAKER; MARIA VILLALBA; FESTUS IYOHA; ELMER RICE; SONJA WAGNER; STEVEN WORKMAN, II; JAMES PARKS; LEONARD LOPEZ; BRIAN REINERT; DANIEL MONASTERIAL; TERRAYNA GRIEVES; CLARICE THOMAS; SHARON DAVIS; ERIN MURRAY; BUFFIE TAYLOR; AMANDA ARANDA; VERONICA MINGO; IMELDA PASALO; BELINDA CORROW; FRANK GARCIA, JR.; PAULINE QUIJADA; BARBARA GREY; DEBI STUPNIK; ANGELITA RUMSEY; ISABEL SERNA; CATALINA RAMIRO; KATHERINE BAILEY; DOREEN SLOAN; MATTIE FOSTER; LENORA GRANGER; TEKEHIA SANDERS; MARY BURNHAM; ROSENDO CHAVEZ; FELICIA JOHNSON; DIANE HOITT; CHARLES DESORMEAUX; SUSAN BINDHAMER; SCOTT MORETTI; WILLIAM ROMAN; MICHAEL MCGEOUGH; MAUREEN RUBIN; ROY CARLO; MARY CARLO; WANDA FERNANDEZ; STEVE SPORCIC; JODI BREGE; DENISE LEBRON; MARCIA STOKER; JULIE ASSELIN; NAVINCHANDRA CHAUHAN; TYRITA BUCKNER; LAURA TIETJE; MARISSA
OSTERMAN; RONALD KUPFERSMID; L. BRYANT; VERLENE SULLIVAN; ROLAND MILLER; NANCY HALL; LIZZIE COLEMAN; JUNE PITTS; LILLIAN ROMO; ROSA GUTIERREZ; DEBORAH ANDERSON; ROSALIE MARQUEZ; RENAE SANDERS; KAREN PAGLIUCA; JEROME MURRAY; MONICA ESPINOZA; VERONICA QUIJADA; STELLA DIZON; GARRY RALEY; EVELYN NEAL; PENNY WILSON; HECTOR MACIAS; RODRIGO RODRIGUEZ; KAREN LOPEZ; WARREN WOLF; MARIA HOGE; SUSAN PARKS; JUDITH POOLE; SANDRA SHOCKEY; LAKISHA JEFFERSON; DOMINICA SUMAGIT; BETSY ALCARAC; JAYWILMORE CORPUZ; JOCELYN TOMITA; PASCUAFILDA GANO; REYNA FELT; CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS; MARIA CENICEROS; MAHATMA GUTIERREZ; CATHERIN PASCOE; LACHANDA SULLIVAN; LAQWANDA OAKLEY; IRMA SERNA; MARGARET SMITH; CHRISTINA RICHARDSON; ROSEMARY CLARK; JESSICA EDMUNDS; CHARLES SPENCE; LINDA POPJOY; COURTNEY CARROLL; ANTHONY RAMOS; ROBERTO CARILLO; CHONG TRAN; CHRISTINE MEYER; ROLAND MORTON; PATRICIA HAMLIN; PAULINE HARTEAU; FRANK FLANAGAN; CHRISTINE BIAGGI; BRETT EVANS; RICHARD KEIRN; PAUL MASON; GENA HART; GABRIEL BALLANTINE; SHIRLEEN PERKINS; CYNTHIA PULASKI; ROBERTA PETERS; AND TRACY CASTNER, Appellants,
v. BOARD OF REVIEW, NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT TRAINING REHABILITATION-EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIVISION; APPEAL TRIBUNAL, NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT TRAINING REHABILITATION-EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIVISION; ADMINISTRATOR, NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT TRAINING REHABILITATION-EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIVISION; AND MEDCO HEALTH SOLUTIONS OF LAS VEGAS, INC., Respondents.
No. 50739.Supreme Court of Nevada.
September 2, 2009.
ORDER OF AFFIRMANCE
This is an appeal from a district court order denying a petition for judicial review of an administrative decision in an unemployment matter. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County; Sally L. Loehrer, Judge.
Appellants consist of 347 employees employed by respondent Medco Health Solutions of Las Vegas, Inc. Appellants appeal the district court’s order denying their petition for judicial review of the Nevada Department of Training and Rehabilitation Employment Security Division’s Board of Review’s (Board) determination that they, as employees of Medco, were statutorily disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits under NRS 612.395. NRS 612.395(1) provides, “A person is disqualified for benefits for any week with respect to which the Administrator finds that his total or partial unemployment is due to a labor dispute in active progress at the factory, establishment or other premises at which he is or was last employed.” In addition, the Board
determined that appellants were not exempted from disqualification under NRS 612.395(2)’s exceptions (i.e. when “[t]he person is not participating in or financing or directly interested in the labor dispute which caused his unemployment[,] . . . and . . . [t]he person does not belong to a grade or class of workers . . . whom are participating in or financing or directly interested in the labor dispute”).
On appeal, appellants argue that an employee who is unemployed due to an employer-based lockout is not precluded from collecting unemployment benefits under NRS 612.395(1). We determine that appellants’ challenge is without merit. Therefore, we affirm the district court’s order denying the petition for judicial review. The parties are familiar with the facts and we do not recount them here except as necessary to our disposition.
Standard of review
This court has established that when it reviews an administrative unemployment compensation decision, it is bound by the same standard of review as the district court, and examines the Board’s administrative record for abuse of discretion. ClarkCounty Sch. Dist. v. Bundlev, 122 Nev. 1440, 1444, 148 P.3d 750, 754 (2006); see NRS 612.530(4). The Board’s factual determinations will be afforded deference if they are supported by substantial evidence. Bundlev, 122 Nev. at 1444, 148 P.3d at 754. Substantial evidence is that which “a reasonable mind could find adequately upholds a conclusion.” Id. at 1445, 148 P.3d at 754. If the Board’s determination is based on substantial evidence, this court will defer to the Board’s “fact-based legal conclusions with regard to whether a person is entitled to unemployment compensation.”Id. But, if the issue presented is a question of statutory interpretation, this court will
review the Board’s decision de novo. See id.:Torrealba v. Kesmetis, 124 Nev. ___, ___, 178 P.3d 716, 721 (2008).
“Labor dispute” under NRS 612.395(1)
NRS 612.395(1) provides, “A person is disqualified for benefits for any week with respect to which the Administrator finds that his total or partial unemployment is due to a labor dispute in active progress at the factory, establishment or other premises at which he is or was last employed.” (Emphasis added.) The basic contentions between appellants and respondents Medco and the Employment Security Division of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (ESD) are grounded in the breadth and scope of the term “labor dispute,” as used in NRS 612.395(1). Appellants claim that this issue is one of first impression, which requires this court to construe NRS 612.395(1). Medco and ESD disagree and argue that this court cannot construe the statute because the statute has a plain meaning, which this court has already decided in Airport Casino v. Jones. 103 Nev. 387, 741 P.2d 814 (1987). We agree with Medco and ESD and conclude that the phrase “labor dispute,” for purposes of disqualification from unemployment compensation under NRS 612.395(1), has a plain meaning and includes employer-based lockouts, as already established by this court in AirportCasino v. Jones 103 Nev. at 391, 741 P.2d at 817.
In Airport Casino, this court defined the term “labor dispute” to “include  `any controversy concerning wages, hours, working conditions,’ or terms of employment.” Id. (quotingGorecki v. State. 335 A.2d 647, 648 (N.H. 1975)).
In applying this definition of “labor dispute” to the facts of this case, we examine the Board’s administrative record for abuse of discretion,
affording deference to the Board’s findings if they are supported by substantial evidence. See Clark County Sch. Dist. v.Bundley, 122 Nev. 1440, 1444-45, 148 P.3d 750, 754 (2006);see also NRS 612.530(4).
Here, the Board adopted the appeal tribunal’s findings of fact and reasons for affirming ESD’s decision in all respects. By adopting those findings and conclusions, the Board concluded that a labor dispute, as defined in Airport Casino, existed in this case — regardless of whether appellants were locked out or conducted a strike — because the dispute between appellants and Medco amounted to a controversy regarding wages, hours, and working conditions. After reviewing the record, we conclude that substantial evidence supports the Board’s findings.
Our conclusion that substantial evidence supports the Board’s findings in this case is based on the undisputed fact that Medco’s lock-out was the result of failed negotiations concerning appellants’ wages and medical benefits. Because a dispute over wages and medical benefits is “`a[1 controversy concerning wages’ . . . [and] terms of employment,” Airport Casino. 103 Nev. at 391, 741 P.2d at 817 (quoting Gorecki v. State. 335 A.2d 647, 648 (N.H. 1975)), we conclude that the Board did not abuse its discretion by determining that appellants were not entitled to unemployment benefits pursuant to NRS 612.395(1).
With respect to appellants’ claim that this labor dispute does not necessarily lead to disqualified unemployment, as provided in NRS 612.395(2), we conclude that appellants’ claim is unavailing. While appellants are correct in that an employee may not be disqualified if he or she establishes that he or she is subject to the exception provided in NRS 612.395(2), our review of the record and the Board’s findings reveals that appellants failed to demonstrate that they were subject to that exception.
See Alldredge v. Archie, 93 Nev. 537, 541, 569 P.2d 940, 943 (1977) (clarifying that the claimant of the unemployment benefits has the burden of proving — to the satisfaction of the administrator — that he meets the requirements under NRS 612.395(2)’s exception). Thus, the Board’s finding that appellants were at least supporting and financing the dispute because they would gain or lose as a result of the settlement thereof is supported by substantial evidence, and we conclude that the Board did not abuse its discretion by denying appellants’ claim for recovery.
Having considered appellants’ contentions and concluded that they are without merit, we
ORDER the judgment of the district court AFFIRMED.
cc: Eighth Judicial District Court Dept. 15, District Judge Ara H. Shirinian, Settlement Judge McCracken, Stemerman Holsberry Jackson Lewis LLP J. Thomas Susich Eighth District Court Clerk