07. Eligibility - Able & Available

Swenson v MESC – 7.05

Swenson v MESC
Digest no. 7.05

Section 28(1)(c)

Cite as: Swenson v MESC, 340 Mich 430 (1954).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Bessie Swenson
Employer: Battle Creek Food Company
Docket no.: B1 1131 13361
Date of decision: September 8, 1954

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: Claimants are not unavailable for benefits because they cannot work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

FACTS: Claimants, packers for Battle Creek Food Company, were laid off due to lack of work. The Commission denied benefits to Claimants, Seventh Day Adventists, on the basis that they were unavailable for work, since their religion forbid them from working from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Claimants had not been offered any employment, and therefore had never refused any.

DECISION: Claimants are eligible for benefits under the availability provision of the MES Act.

RATIONALE: The Supreme Court adopted the reasoning of the trial judge, stating that:

“To exclude such persons would be arbitrary discrimination when there is no sound foundation, in fact, for the distinction, and the purposes of and theory of the act are not thereby served. Seventh Day Adventists, as a matter of fact, do not remove themselves from the labor market by stopping work on sundown Friday and not resuming work until sundown Saturday, as is apparent from the reason that employers do hire them.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: