18. Restitution, Waiver, Fraud

VanHusen v. Henry Ford Health System – 18.22

VanHusen v. Henry Ford Health System
Digest No. 18.22

Section 421.29(1)(b)

Cite as: VanHusen v Henry Ford Health System, unpublished opinion of the Oakland Circuit Court, issued April 11, 2012, (Docket No. 11-122549-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Georgiana VanHusen
Employer: Henry Ford Health System
Docket no.: 11-122549-AE
Date of decision: April 11, 2012

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HOLDING: The claimant’s sleeping on the job and insubordination, by themselves, given the claimant’s position as a prison guard, are enough evidence to support a finding of misconduct disqualifying the claimant from benefits.

FACTS: Claimant worked as a registered nurse in the emergency department at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Claimant was first disciplined in April 2009, when she received a written warning for unprofessional conduct and negative behavior towards patients and co-workers. Also, Claimant was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, which she successfully completed. But Claimant received another disciplinary action, including an unpaid suspension, for negative and uncompassionate behavior towards patients and family members. She was advised of the possibility of termination at that time. Then, Claimant received three more complaints filed against her in February, March, and April of 2010. As a result of the complaints filed against Claimant in February, March, and April of 2010, Henry Ford decided to terminate her employment. In lieu of a discharge, Claimant resigned on April 18, 2010. MCAC affirmed the decision of the ALJ, determining Claimant disqualified for benefits.

DECISION: The circuit court affirmed MCAC’s decision, which found Claimant to be disqualified for benefits due to misconduct under section 29(1)(b) of the MES Act and Carter v MESC, 364 Mich 538 (1961).

RATIONALE: The court considered “all of the facts and particularly the degree of responsibility the claimant owes to the employer…” See Wickey v Employment Security Comm, 369 Mich 487, 503 (1963). And under “the last straw” doctrine, misconduct may consist of a series of incidents as well as a single incident. The court concluded Claimant exhibited a recurring pattern of behavior which the employer had previously warned her about and that Claimant failed to correct her behavior despite the warnings. Claimant admitted knowing the proper rules of conduct for nurses and that those rules were important to the hospital. The court concluded Claimant’s unprofessional conduct towards patients was undoubtedly harmful the the hospital’s reputation. Therefore, Claimant’s pattern of behavior amounted to misconduct under section 29(1)(b) of the MES Act.

Digest author: Adam Kleven, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: 3/1/2016