10. Voluntary Leaving

Carswell v Share House, Inc – 10.16

Carswell v Share House, Inc
Digest no. 10.16

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Carswell v Share House, Inc, 151 Mich App 392 (1986).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Elizabeth Carswell
Employer: Share House, Inc.
Docket no.: B83 10743 91926W
Date of decision: May 5, 1986

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COURT OF APPEAL HOLDING: An employee who tenders a resignation effective immediately rather than work a two week notice period offered by the employer has voluntarily terminated employment. A reasonable person standard should be applied when determining “good cause” under Section 29(1)(a).

FACTS: Claimant, a secretary, had expressed dissatisfaction about her wages. After being told she would not be getting an increase, she expressed her intention to look elsewhere for employment. Several days later the employer gave claimant a letter accepting her “offer to voluntarily quit”. The letter went on to indicate claimant’s replacement would start in two weeks and claimant could work until then. Later that same day claimant submitted a letter of resignation effective immediately.

DECISION: Claimant voluntarily left her employment. Remanded by the court for fact finding as to whether claimant had good cause attributable to the employer.

RATIONALE: “[W]e find that there is little doubt that plaintiff left her employment voluntarily. Although she had an opportunity to continue her employment for two weeks, she tendered her resignation effective immediately. Plaintiff was not under any legal, economic, or physical compulsion to leave her job, nor is there any evidence in the lower court record indicating that she did so unintentionally.”

“The real question presented to us is whether plaintiff’s leaving of her job was ‘without good cause attributable to the employer.’ … ‘Good cause’ as used in MCL 421.29(1)(a); MSA 17.531(1)(a), has not been defined…. We find that the ‘reasonable man’ standard properly effectuates the legislative intention behind MCL 421.29(1)(a); MSA 17.531(1)(a). Under that standard, ‘good cause’ compelling an employee to terminate his employment should be found where an employer’s actions would cause a reasonable, average, and otherwise qualified worker to give up his or her employment.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 6/91