- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) - An airport security guard fired for using a computer to help a traveler seeking flight information can collect unemployment benefits, the Michigan appeals court said Wednesday.

U.S. Security Associates has opposed jobless aid for Carnice Hodge, saying she was fired for violating company policy in 2011, even if she was trying to help a harried traveler at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

But the appeals court, in a 3-0 decision, said there’s no evidence of a “willful and wanton disregard” for the interests of Hodge’s employer.

“The fact that (Hodge) merely accessed public flight information, not sensitive information, advances her claim that this was a good-faith error in judgment and not evil design,” judges Kurtis Wilder, Peter O’Connell and Patrick Meter said.

A message seeking comment was left for an attorney for U.S. Security.

Hodge’s pursuit of unemployment assistance has taken many steps. The state’s unemployment insurance agency denied her application for benefits, a decision that was affirmed by an administrative law judge and the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission.

But Wayne County Judge Robert Ziolkowski overturned the commission’s decision in 2012. The appeals court agreed with Ziolkowski.

“Ordinary negligence in isolated incidents, or good-faith errors in judgment or discretion, are also not to be deemed misconduct” under state law covering unemployment aid, Ziolkowski said.

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