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12. Misconduct

Goblembiewski v. Complete Auto Transit – 12.67

Goblembiewski v. Complete Auto Transit
Digest No. 12.67
Section 421.29(1)(b)

Cite as: Goblembiewski v. Complete Auto Transit, Unpublished Opinion of the Genesee County Circuit Court, Issued April 2, 1990 (Docket no. 89-1046 AE).

Court: Genesee County Circuit Court
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Arthur Golembiewski
Employer: Complete Auto Transit
Date of decision: April 2, 1990


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HOLDING: Mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as a result of inability or incapacity, inadvertence or ordinary negligence and isolated incidents of good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed misconduct. The dollar amount of damage suffered by the employer does not affect whether an employee has engaged in misconduct.

FACTS: The claimant worked for the employer as an over-the-road driver, delivering automobiles to dealerships, from 1975 through April 19, 1988. When the claimant was making a delivery run to Holly, Michigan, he was involved in an accident when his truck struck an overpass resulting in damage in excess of sixteen thousand dollars. The claimant alleged that he negligently and not deliberately made a mistake of not lowering the ramps on his truck because he was distracted by a malfunctioning jump pin, which he spent approximately 30 minutes trying to repair. The claimant filed for unemployment benefits for the period from April 19, 1988, through May 14, 1988. The Referee held the claimant not disqualified for benefits pursuant to the provisions of MCL 421.29(1)(a) of the Michigan Employment Security Act. The employer appealed and the Employment Security Board of Review reversed the Referee’s decision.


DECISION: The Genesee County Circuit Court reversed the decision of the Employment Security Board of Review and held that the claimant was not disqualified for benefits.


RATIONALE: The Court reasoned that under Karr* case, the Supreme Court held that “conduct evincing such willful or wanton disregard of an employer’s interest as is found in deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee, or in carelessness or negligence of such a degree or recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interests or of the employee’s duties and obligations to his employer.” The case also said that “[o]n the other hand, mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as a result of inability or incapacity, inadvertence or ordinary negligence and isolated incidents of good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed misconduct within the meaning of the statute.” In this case, the claimant clearly did not intentionally lower the ramps on his truck and get distracted. In addition, he was distracted trying to fix his employer’s equipment—the jump pin. The significant amount of the damage the employer suffered from the accident should not affect the legal standard required for misconduct.

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

*This case was not quoted in this opinion and the citation could not be found. It appears to be a quote from Carter v. Employment Security Comm., 364 Mich. 538 (1961).