Categories
10. Voluntary Leaving

Ayala v Shaw Systems & Integration Inc. – 10.128

Ayala v Shaw Systems & Integration Inc.
Digest No. 10-128
Section 421.28

Cite as: Ayala v Shaw Systems & Integration Inc., unpublished opinion of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission, issued December 30, 2019 (Docket No.: 19-014484-259989W).

Court: UIAC
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Bethany A. Ayala
Employer: Shaw Systems & Integration Inc.
Date of decision: December 30, 2019

View/download the full decision

HOLDING: The Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission (the “Commission”) held that under Section 421.29(1)(a), the employer’s failure to address the Claimant’s well-founded health and safety concerns, such as the existence of asbestos and a lack of safety measures, are good cause attributable to the employer to quit.

FACTS: The Claimant began her project at a hospital for the employer in December of 2018. At that time, her employer told her that all the asbestos had previously been removed from the site. To the contrary, after returning to the site for a different project, Claimant discovered that an asbestos abatement crew was removing asbestos from the area and realized that there was asbestos throughout the hospital on March 11, 2019. The employer never offered the Claimant safety equipment and did not test the air or materials before assigning employees to work in an area. Ultimately, Claimant did not feel comfortable with the situation and did not return to work.

DECISION: The Commission reversed the ALJ’s decision and found that the Claimant is not disqualified for benefits under the voluntary leaving provision of the Act, Section 421.29(1)(a). The Commission affirmed the ALJ’s decision order denying rehearing of the case, as there has been no abuse of discretion.

RATIONALE: The employer has the burden of proof to establish that the Claimant was disqualified under the Act. Ackerberg v Grant Community Hospital, 138 Mich App 295 (1984). Good cause exists when the circumstance which prompted the Claimant’s leaving would have caused a reasonable, average, and otherwise qualified employee to leave. Carswell v Share House, Inc., 151 Mich App 392 (1986). In this case, the employer failed to establish that the Claimant was disqualified. Even if the Claimant’s separation from work could be characterized as a quit, the Claimant had good cause to leave the employer. She was not given proper notice regarding the risks of exposure to asbestos, and the employer failed to provide safety measures to mitigate the situation, despite relocating her to another worksite. She also discovered during a safety meeting that employees were exposed to asbestos at another work site, which prompted her not to be willing to be sent to another location without being informed as to how employees could be protected from being exposed to asbestos. Therefore, the Claimant is not disqualified.

Digest author: Toni Suh, Michigan Law, Class of 2020
Digest updated: January 29, 2021

Categories
07. Eligibility - Able & Available

Kyles v A One Dentures, P.C. – 7.40

Kyles v A One Dentures, P.C.

Digest No. 7.40

Section 421.28

Cite as: Kyles v A One Dentures, P.C., unpublished opinion of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, issued November 21, 2011 (Docket No.: B 2010-28689-RMI-220443W).

Court: MCAC

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Ginay Y. Josey Kyles

Employer: One Dentures, P.C.

Date of decision: November 21, 2011

View/download full opinion

HOLDING: The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission held that the mere fact that the claimant had an underlying medical condition, COPD, did not make her unable or unavilable to work where the evidence showed that she was laid-off due to lack of work and not her inability to work. However, the claimant was no longer able and available to work once she applied for Social Security disability benefits.

FACTS: The ALJ found the Claimant ineligible for benefits beginning February 4, 2010, based on the record that established the Claimant experienced complications with Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD). However, the Commission noted that the facts provided that the claimant was seeking work, had transportation, had no care-giving duties, and had had COPD for years. Once claimant filed for Social Security disability benefits, however, the Commission deemed her ineligible for benefits due to lack of ability and availability to work.

DECISION: The Commission modified the ALJ order and found Claimant ineligible for benefits only once she applied for Social Security disability benefits.

RATIONALE: The ALJ’s erred in finding that Claimant was not able and available to perform suitable full-time work of a character which the Claimant was qualified to perform by past experience or training under Section 421.28(1)(c) based soloely on the record of Claimant’s medical condition. The Claimant was laid off due to lack of work—not due to a medical condition. The record offered no basis for the ALJ to find ineligibility as of February 4, 2010. The record, however, did offer such basis as of February 23, 2010, when the claimant applied for Social Security disability benefits.

Furthermore, it was beyond the authority of the ALJ to decide eligibility prospectively, as eligibility questions, like availability and seeking work, must be considered on a week-by-week basis. Therefore, the ALJ could find only that the claimant was ineligible for benefits beginning the week of the administrative hearing, which was held on February 9, 2011.

Digest author: Toni Suh, Michigan Law, Class of 2020
Digest updated: January 29, 2021

Categories
16. Procedures/Appeals

Snyder v RAM Broadcasting – 16.34

Snyder v RAM Broadcasting
Digest No. 16.34

Section 29

Cite as: Snyder v RAM Broadcasting, unpublished opinion of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, issued April 26, 1983 (Docket No. 8223718AE).

Court: Washtenaw Circuit Court
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ann Snyder
Employer: RAM Broadcasting
Date of decision: April 26, 1983

View/download the full decision

HOLDING: The court held that a hearing notice was deficient under the Administrative Procedures Act and the due process clause of the Michigan and United States Constitutions where (1)  it was not a plain statement  of the matters asserted and (2) even if understandable, was not listed in the notice of hearing as an issue which would be presented before the referee.

FACTS:  Claimant filed a timely appeal after the Agency disqualified her from benefits under the Voluntary Quit provision of Section 29(1)(a).  During her hearing, testimony was taken regarding her availability to work and efforts to obtain a job during the period in which she claimed benefits. As a result, she was found disqualified for benefits under Section 29(1)(a) and the seeking work provision of Section 28.  On appeal, the claimant sought reversal of the of the judge’s finding on the “seeking work” issue.  She alleged that she did actively seek employment and was denied a fair hearing on this issue in violation of the Michigan Employment Security Act and the due process clause of the state and federal constitutions.

DECISION: The court held that the hearing notice was deficient under the Administrative Procedures Act and the due process clauses of the Michigan and United States Constitutions. In addition, the referee’s failure to inform the claimant of all issues he planned to decide during the hearing, along with the consequences of failing to meet her burden of proof violated the fairness requirement of Section 33 of the Michigan Employment Security Act.

RATIONALE: The court found that the hearing notice violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) provision requiring “a short and plain statement of the matters asserted.”  Here, the court found that “words and phrases divided by slashes and followed by a string citation . . . do not provide a reasonably understandable notification that an issue will be considered, especially when the notification is intended for a lay person.”  

In discussing the due process requirements under the state and federal constitutions, the court cited Hanson v State Board of Registration, 253 Mich 601, 607 (1931), holding that unless the right is waived, a party before a state agency is “at least entitled to a reasonably definite statement of the charge or charges preferred against the accused.”  Here, the court found that the notice of hearing was not reasonably calculated to inform the claimant of the pendency of the seeking work issue: “Whatever the purpose of this convoluted array of words and slashes, it was not to intelligibly notify the plaintiff that her entire benefits package prior to the hearing date was in jeopardy if she did not affirmatively prove her efforts in search of employment.” Thus, the hearing notice was deficient under the APA and the Michigan and United States constitutions.

The court further held that Ms. Snyder was denied a fair hearing where she was not apprised of all the issues the referee intended to decide, along with the consequences of the plaintiff’s failure to carry her burden of proof.  As a result, Ms. Snyder’s hearing violated the fairness requirement of Section 33 of the Act.

Digest author: Laura Page, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: December 1, 2017