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10. Voluntary Leaving

Haynes v. Collabera, Inc. – 10.127

Haynes v. Collabera, Inc.
Digest No. 10.127
Section 421.29

Cite as: Haynes v. Collabera, Inc., Unpublished Opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, Issued February 8, 2018 (Docket no. 336372).

Court: Court of Appeals of Michigan
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Jim Haynes
Employer: Collabera, Inc.
Date of decision: February 8, 2018

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HOLDING: The Circuit Court misapplied the substantial evidence test by holding that there is substantial evidence on the record showing that both IBM and Collabera approved Claimant’s raise despite the ALJ’s conclusion that there was no such evidence. The Circuit Court instead was required to assess whether substantial evidence supported MCAC’s decision. Hodge v. U.S. Security Assoc., Inc., 497 Mich. 189, 193–194; 859 N.W.2d 683 (2015). MCAC’s conclusion that Claimant was not promised a wage was supported by substantial evidence and not contrary to the law, and therefore, the Circuit Court should have affirmed that decision rather than substituting its own judgment.

FACTS: Claimant was aware that he had continuing work under a renewed contract, but he wished for a pay increase as part of that renewed contract. Claimant was told on January 6, 2015, by a representative at IBM that Claimant’s raise was “in the works” and contingent on his contract being extended, but the representative also told Claimant that he was uncertain of when the increase would occur. Rather than waiting on the contract’s approval, or even inquiring as to a date that he could expect the increase, Claimant tendered his letter of resignation on February 2, 2015.

DECISION: The case was reversed and remanded for entry of an order affirming MCAC’s decision that found, in accordance with the law and supported by substantial evidence, that Claimant did not meet his burden of proving he left his employment for good cause attributable to the employer.
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RATIONALE: The Court reasoned that under MCL 421.29(1)(a), two factors must be analyzed: (1) whether an individual left work voluntarily and, if so, (2) whether the voluntary leaving was with good cause attributable to the employer.

The Court reasoned that under the given circumstances, a reasonable, average worker would not give up his employment. McArthur v. Borman’s, Inc., 200 Mich. App. 686, 693; 505 N.W.2d 32 (1993). Claimant resigned after less than one month from when he was told that his rate increase was “in the works.” MCAC found no evidence that a pay raise had been promised; rather, it had been discussed. Accordingly, MCAC properly concluded that Claimant failed to establish good cause, and therefore was not entitled to unemployment benefits.

It is not the function of the Circuit Court “to resolve conflicts in the evidence.” Vanzandt v. State Employees Ret. Sys., 266 Mich. App. 579, 593; 701 N.W.2d 214 (2005). It was not permitted to “set aside findings merely because alternative findings also could have been supported by substantial evidence on the record.” Edw. C. Levy. Co., 293 Mich. App. at 341.

Digest author: Toni Suh, Michigan Law, Class of 2020

Digest updated: January 29, 2021