04. Total or Partial Unemployment

Palmer-Sheffield v Northwest Airlines, Inc – 4.37

Palmer-Sheffield v Northwest Airlines
Digest no. 4.37

Section 48

Cite as: Palmer-Sheffield v Northwest Airlines, Inc, Unpublished Opinion of the Oakland County Circuit Court, Issued December 13, 2005 (Docket No. 2004-065674-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Remonda D. Palmer-Sheffield
Employer: Northwest Airlines, Inc.
Docket no.: 178151WH
Date of decision: December 13, 2005

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HOLDING: An employee cannot be denied benefits for going on voluntary leave when the voluntary leave is a disguised layoff due to lack of work.

FACTS: Claimant Palmer-Sheffield took voluntary leave from her employer, Northwest Airlines, in 2001 pursuant to a program that granted senior flight attendants leave in order to give junior flight attendants the opportunity to work. In 2001, the program stipulated that Northwest Airlines would not contest unemployment. The program was again offered in 2004, and appellant signed up, believing that employment would again not be contested, but Northwest Airlines had provided that it would contest unemployment. An ALJ hearing resulted in Claimant being denied benefits; Claimant submitted an Application for Rehearing, which was denied by the Board of Review. Claimant appealed to the Circuit Court.

DECISION: The Circuit Court reversed the Order Denying Application for Rehearing by the Board of Review.

RATIONALE: Pursuant to Section 48, “an individual shall neither be considered not unemployed nor on a leave of absence solely because the individual elects to be laid off, pursuant to an option provided under a collective bargaining agreement or written employer plan which permits such election, when there is a temporary layoff because of lack of work, and the employer has consented thereto.” The Court found that the appellant fit squarely into this definition, which was her argument that had been adopted from a dissenting opinion on the Board of Review.

Digest Author: Nick Phillips
Digest Updated: 8/14