10. Voluntary Leaving

Lakeshore Public Academy v Scribner – 10.91

Lakeshore Public Academy v Scribner
Digest no. 10.91

Section 29(1) (a)

Cite as: Lakeshore Pub Academy v Scribner, unpublished opinion of the Oceana Circuit Court, issued May 10, 2004, (Docket No. 03-004110-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Patricia A. Scribner
Employer: Lakeshore Public Academy
Docket no.: B2003-06865-RO1-170206
Date of decision: May 10, 2004

View/download the full decision

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Claimant established good cause for leaving. Employer did not complete the process of handling the claimant’s complaint by communicating to her that it was investigated and what action would or would not be taken in response. The claimant reasonably concluded the employer was unable or unwilling to discipline a co-worker who violated employer’s rule against threatening behavior.

FACTS: Claimant worked as a teacher. Another teacher and his wife, confronted claimant in her classroom regarding her discipline of their child on the previous day. Claimant testified the other teacher put his finger in her face, glared at her, and made intimidating comments. This happened as students were entering the classroom. Claimant reported this incident to the employer, and indicated she could not work under those conditions. Employer had a policy prohibiting threatening behavior toward staff which provided that if a threat occurred, the perpetrator would be disciplined. Employer’s witness investigated the incident, but could not reconcile differing statements from claimant and the other teacher, so the teacher was not disciplined. After not hearing anything more from the administration, claimant resigned a couple weeks later.

DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “The ALJ’s decision turned on the failure of the Academy to complete the normal and expected handling of an employee’s grievance by communicating to the employee the results of the investigation and what, if any, action would be taken in response to the complaint.” It is the manner in which employer handled the complaint, not the failure to impose discipline, that leads to a finding of non-disqualification.

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

10. Voluntary Leaving

Smith v Andrews on the Corner – 10.47

Smith v Andrews on the Corner
Digest no. 10.47

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Smith v Andrews on the Corner, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued July 22, 1987 (Docket No. 94071).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ollie Smith
Employer: Andrews on the Corner
Docket no.: B85 02586 99533W
Date of decision: July 22, 1987

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Claimant quit work without good cause attributable to the employer where she quit without notice because of a co-worker’s profanity and anger and refused to continue work despite the employer’s offer to change the co-worker’s schedule.

FACTS: Claimant was employed as a part time cook for two years. Throughout that period she experienced frustration with the full time co-worker who was in charge of the kitchen. Claimant was upset by the co-worker’s frequent profanity and angry moods. The employer attempted to intervene on occasion, without success. Only the claimant had difficulty with the co-worker. Eventually the claimant quit without notice. She refused to return to work despite an offer from the employer to change the co-worker’s schedule.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “In this case, we have no difficulty in concluding that claimant’s disqualification is amply supported by competent, material and substantial evidence on the record. Despite the Biblical injunction to ‘swear not at all,’ we are not unmindful that, as observed by Mark Twain, ‘In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.’ … In our estimation, claimant’s precipitous and unannounced termination from employment was not a reasonable reaction to her workplace discomfiture. Clearly, the employer was amenable to implementing scheduling changes in order to accommodate claimant’s wounded sensibilities. … [W]e believe reasonable efforts were made to eliminate the periodic conflicts between the employees. … The employer was yielding, while claimant was inflexible; we feel that under the circumstances in this case, this inflexibility was unreasonable.”

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