10. Voluntary Leaving

Cooper v University of Michigan – 10.07

Cooper v University of Michigan
Digest no. 10.07

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Cooper v University of Michigan, 100 Mich App 99 (1980).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Margaret Cooper
Employer: University of Michigan
Docket no.: B76 12784 54167
Date of decision: September 15, 1980

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: (1) The employer does not bear the burden of proof concerning disqualification for voluntary leaving. (2) Dissatisfaction with a lack of work assignments does not constitute good cause for voluntary leaving.

FACTS: The claimant left a clerical position, stating that her work assignments were not sufficient to keep her busy.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “While we are clearly presented with a disqualification question, we disagree with plaintiff’s position that the employer bears the burden of proof in all cases involving an employee’s disqualification for unemployment benefits.”

“Plaintiff herein left work because she was dissatisfied with the amount of work assigned to her. In light of the undisputed facts attending the plaintiff’s cause, whether this motivation constitutes ‘good cause attributable to the employer or employing unit’ is a question of law, Thomas v Employment Security Comm, 356 Mich 665, 668 (1959).

“In Albright v Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 106 A 2D 879 (Pa 1954), a bookkeeper quit his job because he did not have enough to do. The court held that the plaintiff was not entitled to unemployment benefits.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 11/90

12. Misconduct

Miller v F. W. Woolworth Co – 12.03

Miller v F. W. Woolworth Co
Digest no. 12.03

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Miller v F W Woolworth Co, 359 Mich 342 (1960).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Mary V. Miller
Employer: F. W. Woolworth Co.
Docket no.: B59 616 22717
Date of decision: April 11, 1960

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: A claimant’s entitlement to benefits must be decided ” … without regard for the fact or nature of opposition, if any, by the employer or, for that matter, by the commission itself.”

FACTS: The claimant was discharged from her job at a soda fountain. Her supervisor testified that repeated incidents involving insolence and foul language caused her to bring the claimant’s conduct to the attention of the store manager. The manager testified that he was told of the problem by the supervisor, but he took no action on the day of the discussion because he needed the claimant. He added that the claimant treated a customer improperly on the following day, and was discharged after a co-worker told the manager what had happened. The employer’s only evidence of the final occurrence was hearsay.

DECISION: The claimant was discharged for misconduct.

RATIONALE: “There is no solution difficulty in this case once we perceive that Miss Miller has neither sued nor drawn upon her employer as at law; that she has applied to the employment security commission for benefits according to procedures authorized by the statute under which she claims; that the commission itself is designated by the statute as ‘an interested party’ (see sections 36 and 38 of the act, CLS 1956 Sections 421.36, 421.38); that the participant function of the commission is that of statutory administrator of a public trust fund the claimant may or may not have a right to tap depending on administrative appraisal of the whole of the evidence brought before its administrative arms, and that the appeal board (when called upon) is vested with independent duty as well as plenary authority to decide each claimant’s qualification for benefits without regard for the fact or nature of opposition, if any, by the employer or, for that matter, by the commission itself.”

Digest Author:  Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 11/90

16. Procedures/Appeals 18. Restitution, Waiver, Fraud

Sanders v MESC – 18.12

Sanders v MESC
Digest no. 18.12

Section 62(b)

Cite as: Sanders v MESC, unpublished opinion of the Wayne Circuit Court, issued April 30, 1957 (Docket No. 287-132).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Early Sanders
Employer: Chrysler Corporation
Docket no.: B56-769-18197
Date of decision: April 30, 1957

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: The burden of establishing fraud by competent evidence rests with the MESC.

FACTS: The claimant received a telegram on Thursday to return to work that same day. Also that day he reported to an office of the Commission and obtained a benefit check for the previous week. The following week he again reported to the Commission and certified for benefits for the prior week despite having returned to work for part of that week.

DECISION: The finding of claimant fraud was upheld.

RATIONALE: The Commission’s agent testified the claimant was asked about his earnings in the week in question. She said she did not require the claimant to fill in the day of the week and it is conceivable that had she so required, the claimant would have changed his entries. But that is conjecture. The fact remains that the dates the claimant entered were wrong and that he had returned to work on the day he had received his previous benefit check.

The burden should be upon the Commission to establish that fraud was committed, and fraud should not be presumed but established by competent proof that persuades one that a proper inference may be drawn. For it must be conceded that the Commission could not be expected to secure an admission by a claimant that he had committed a fraud. So, to prove an intent to defraud an inference must be drawn from the facts themselves.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:

10. Voluntary Leaving

Borg v MUCC – 10.23

Borg v MUCC
Digest no. 10.23

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Borg v MUCC, unpublished opinion of the Wayne Circuit Court, issued February 28, 1955 (Docket No. B54 749 15677).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Edgar Borg
Employer: Ansaldi Tool & Engineering
Docket no.: B54 749 15677
Date of decision: February 28, 1955

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: “On the question of disqualification for voluntarily leaving without good cause attributable to the employer, it appears to the court that the burden of proof is upon the employer to establish that voluntary leaving took place.”

FACTS: Claimant worked for the employer until November 25, 1953. Claimant testified he did not work between that date and December 4, 1953 because there was no work. Claimant testified that the employer promised to call when work was available, but did not do so. The employer contended that claimant was unwilling to work full time and had voluntarily quit.

DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified.

RATIONALE: The employer did not establish that claimant’s leaving was voluntary.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 6/91

16. Procedures/Appeals

Ashford v Unemployment Comp. Commission – 7.24

Ashford v Unemployment Comp. Commission
Digest no. 7.24

Sections 28(1)(c), 33

Cite as: Ashford v Unemployment Compensation Commission, 328 Mich 428 (1950).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Violet Ashford
Employer: Kelsey Hayes
Date of decision: Sept. 11, 1950

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: The introduction into evidence of the file materials for a claim for unemployment benefits does not, by itself, operate to prove the claim. The burden of proof is on the party asserting the affirmative of the issue involved.

FACTS: Claimant filed for unemployment benefits and the Commission determined she was entitled. The employer appealed to the Referee. The claimant appeared in person, the employer by counsel. Claimant’s file materials were made part of the record over employer’s objections. Employer requested the claimant be questioned as to her eligibility. “[T]he Referee held that, because claimant was not represented by counsel, she might not be permitted to testify unless the employer called her for cross examination under the statute and agreed that her testimony should become the employer’s testimony, binding upon the latter.”

Employer contended claimant had the burden to establish her claim, even if the employer did not offer any evidence in opposition. The Referee held a prima facie case was established by entering claimant’s file into the record, and that the employer, by failing to offer evidence in opposition, had failed to prosecute its appeal, which was dismissed.

DECISION: Dismissal for lack of prosecution was error. Remanded for hearing on the merits.

RATIONALE: “The statute does not provide … a rule that in cases of employer appeals to referee the employer shall be held to have failed to prosecute its appeal unless it assumes the burden of the evidence and proceeds at the very outset to offer proofs in opposition to … the claimant…. [T]he employer was present by counsel who stated its position on the law, … and objected to the referee’s ruling that plaintiff might testify only as employer’s witness. In so doing, the employer did prosecute its appeal.”

“Introduction of that claim … into evidence did not operate to establish it. The claim does not prove itself…. [T]he obligation of the claimants is to establish the truth of their claims by a preponderance of the evidence.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 6/91

04. Total or Partial Unemployment

Phillips v UCC – 4.04

Phillips v UCC
Digest no. 4.04

Section 48

Cite as: Phillips v UCC, 323 Mich 188 (1948).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Pleasant I. Phillips
Employer: Winters and Crampton Corporation
Docket no.: B7 15029 8250
Date of decision: December 17, 1948

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: (1) The claimant has the burden of proof as to eligibility. (2) An attorney who practices law 8 to 12 hours per day is not unemployed. (3) Compensation earned, not compensation received, is the test of remuneration.

FACTS: The claimant, an attorney, began practicing law in 1900.He performed factory work ” … from August 12, 1944, until October 6, 1947, when he was laid off due to lack of work. He continued in the practice of law, maintaining a law office in which he spent from 8 to 12 hours per day.” The receipts from the law office were $31.00 in the 7 weeks following the claimant’s layoff.

DECISION: The claimant is not unemployed.

RATIONALE: “We believe that the words ‘unemployed individual’ are used in [Section] 28 in their ordinarily accepted sense and that, taken in that light, one who is engaged in rendering service for remuneration or who devotes his time to the practice of a profession by which a living is customarily earned cannot be said to be unemployed.”

“Remuneration earned, not remuneration received, is the test under this section. Efforts expended in those weeks may well have earned fees paid at a subsequent date, a thing not at all unusual in a law practice.”

“The burden was on plaintiff to prove his eligibility under [Section] 48. Dwyer v Unemployment Compensation Commission, 321 Mich 178. From the record it does not appear that he sustained that burden.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:

07. Eligibility - Able & Available

Dwyer v UCC – 7.04

Dwyer v UCC
Digest no. 7.04

Section 28(1)(c)

Cite as: Dwyer v UCC, 321 Mich 178 (1948).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: John Dwyer
Employer: Packard Motor Car Co.
Docket no.: B6 18326 5058
Date of decision: May 18, 1948

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: (1) The claimant has the burden of proof as to eligibility. (2) A person who is genuinely attached to the labor market will make a reasonable attempt to find work.

FACTS: The claimant sought work only 3 or 4 times during 19 months of unemployment. He did not seek police work, which he had performed for 25 years.

DECISION: The claimant is ineligible for benefits.

RATIONALE: “(T)o prevail, the claimant must have sufficient proofs offered in his behalf to establish that he meets the conditions of eligibility. To this extent he has the burden of proof.”

“Whether or not a claimant is in fact available for work depends to a great extent upon his mental attitude, i.e., whether he wants to go to work or is content to remain idle. Indicative of such mental attitude is evidence as to efforts which the person has made in his own behalf to obtain work. A person who is genuinely attached to the labor market and desires employment will make a reasonable attempt to find work and will not wait for a job to seek him out.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: