10. Voluntary Leaving

McArthur v Borman’s – 10.79

McArthur v Borman’s
Digest no. 10.79

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: McArthur v Borman’s, 200 Mich App 686 (1993).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Robin McArthur
Employer: Borman’s Inc.
Docket no.: B88-04285-108675W
Date of decision: July 19, 1993

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Where employer, pursuant to plan authorized by collective bargaining agreement, gave claimant option of accepting a buyout accompanied by monetary incentives or remaining on the job and facing a permanent reduction to part-time work two years hence, she had reasonable alternatives from which to choose and her decision to leave was voluntary and for personal reasons.

FACTS: Under a 1987 collective bargaining agreement, employer could reduce up to 50% of its full-time work force to part-time in August, 1989. Claimant did not have enough seniority to maintain her full-time position after August, 1989. Claimant accepted buyout of $16,000 in exchange for resigning prior to December 31, 1987.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified under Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: “The state has a substantial interest in reserving unemployment benefits for those who became unemployed `due to forces beyond their control.’ `Voluntary’ connotes a choice between alternatives that ordinary persons would find reasonable. Unemployment benefits are not designed to protect those who receive large cash settlements following voluntary separations, but to assist those who become unemployed through no fault of their own.” (citations omitted) Claimant’s decision to accept buyout was voluntary because she could have continued to work full-time for two more years and earned more in that time than the value of the buyout. There was no immediate threat of reduction in hours. Claimant was offered a significant monetary incentive to leave her job. Therefore, her reasons for leaving were personal and not for good cause attributable to the employer.

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

10. Voluntary Leaving

Coleman v MESC – 10.38

Coleman v MESC
Digest no. 10.38

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Coleman v MESC, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued March 21, 1990 (Docket No. 117120).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: William N. Coleman
Employer: General Motors
Docket no.: B87 02913 105830
Date of decision: March 21, 1990

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Where a claimant who is given a choice among reasonable alternatives decides to accept a “buy-out” he is subject to disqualification for voluntary leaving.

FACTS: Claimant began working for the employer in 1978 at a GM warehouse near his home. In 1986, GM announced it was closing this warehouse at the end of the year. GM tried to relocate the employees, and offered to pay relocation expenses for employees relocating more than 35 miles from home. Claimant was given three options (1) to accept a transfer to the GM Tech Center approximately 50 miles away; (2) a lay-off with benefits for one year; (3) a buy-out of approximately $50,000.00. Claimant chose the buy-out.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “The board found that if plaintiff would have accepted the job at the Warren technical center his seniority and pay would not have been affected. While the location was further from plaintiff’s home, plaintiff’s reason for not accepting the job was the lack of job security. The board concluded that plaintiff has as much security as any other employee and, therefore, plaintiff was presented with a choice between accepting a job and signing the special incentive separation agreement. Hence, plaintiff had a choice of reasonable alternatives and chose to quit without good cause attributable to his employer. … We agree with the board’s decision that plaintiff’s options presented reasonable alternatives and, therefore, made plaintiff’s decision to quit a voluntary one.”

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