05. Denial Periods

Hofmeister v Armada Area Schools – 5.21

Hofmeister v Armada Area Schools
Digest no. 5.21

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Hofmeister v Armada Area Schools, Macomb Circuit Court No. 96-3916AE (November 20, 1996), lv den Mich App No. 199806 (June 9, 1997).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Patricia Hofmeister
Employer: Armada Area Schools
Docket no.: B93-00816-R01-131220
Date of decision: November 20, 1996

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Notice of prospective tentative layoff does not negate reasonable assurance contained in collective bargaining agreement.

FACTS: Claimant was a school teacher during the 1991-1992 school year. Her employment was governed by a collective bargaining agreement. The school district was operating with a deficit. A millage election was scheduled for June 8, 1992. As a contingency, teacher layoffs were discussed and the union was so notified.

The June 8, 1992 millage increase failed. Another election was scheduled for September 14, 1992. On June 12, 1992 the school board sent a letter to the union that listed the claimant and others as employees who would be laid off if the millage again failed. On August 19, 1992, pursuant to the bargaining agreement, a letter was sent to the claimant notifying her she would be laid off on September 29, 1992 if the millage did not pass. But, the millage did pass and on September 15, 1992 the claimant and others were notified they were no longer subject to the possibility of layoff.

DECISION: The claimant was subject to the school denial period set forth in Section 27(i)(1).

RATIONALE: The claimant’s employment was governed by a contract, the CBA. The CBA provided for employment until layoff notices were provided and became effective. Layoff notices were not provided until August 19, 1992. The claimant would not have been laid off until September 29, 1992. Thus, during the period for which claimant was seeking unemployment benefits she had a contract for the 1992-93 school year, which provided reasonable assurance. Consequently, she was not entitled to benefits.

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

15. Labor Disputes

Alexander v. A.P. Parts Manufacturing Co. – 15.36

Alexander v. A.P. Parts Manufacturing Co.
Digest No. 15.36

Section 421.29(8)

Cite as: Alexander v AP Parts Manufacturing Co., unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued February  23, 1996 (Docket No. 168700).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: David J. Alexander, Louise Anderson, Charles Arndt, Bruce Berthiaume, Wyatt Boyer, Robert Beuchel, Paul Chomas, George Clark, Richard Courtney, Cheryl Dehate, Dean Fenwick, George Fittig, and Jacob Gotfryd
Employer: A.P. Parts Manufacturing Company
Date of decision: February 23, 1996

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HOLDING: Court applied the deferential standard to the decision of the MESC Board of Review. Reversed the Circuit Court opinion and reinstated the MESC Board of Review’s decision. There exists substantial evidence on the whole record to support the board of review’s conclusion that the labor dispute was connected with the lockout. Ruling of the board of review is supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record.

FACTS: Employer manufactures parts for the automobile and heavy truck industry and employed approximately 206 union employees and 75 nonunion employees. In October 1989, employer hired 10-12 additional employees and began to operate two shifts .In December 1989 employer issued a “WARN” letter advising its employees that some employees may be laid off if a new collective bargaining agreement was reached on or about February 8, 1990 (the date the then existing one was set to expire). On February 5, 1990, when employer determined it had sufficient inventory in the warehouse, it laid off the 10-12 nonunion employees it had hired in Oct 1989. On February 8, 1990, immediately after union employees rejected the collective bargaining agreement that the employer had proposed, the employer announced that its operation would be shut down for the next two working days due to an “inventory adjustment”. On February 13, 1990 the employer announced a “lockout” that affected all union employees. Claimants immediately began to picket. Union employees rejected a third proposal and employer ended the lockout by notifying its employees to return to work. However, 75 employees were laid off one additional week due to “lack of work”.


  • Determined that claimants were disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation because their temporary unemployment was related to a labor dispute (and the state must remain neutral in labor disputes).
  • In an evidentiary hearing, an MESC referee rejected the employer’s claim that the lockout was related to a labor dispute and hence found that claimants were entitled to unemployment benefits.

MESC Board of Review:

  • Reversed the decision of the referee two-to-one.
  • Concluded that:
    • (1) employers had “warehoused” its product in order to improve its bargaining position in the event of a labor dispute, and
    • (2) claimants were disqualified from receiving benefits under MCL 421.29(8) because the labor dispute that developed was a substantial contributing factor to the lockout.

Circuit Court

  • Reversed the ruling of the board of review

DECISION: Circuit court erred in reversing the decision of the MESC Board of Review.

RATIONALE: “Substantial evidence” means more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance of the evidence. So long as the MESC Board of Review selected between two reasonable positions, the judiciary must accord deference to administrative expertise and refrain from substituting its own judgment for that of the administrative agency. Court applied the deferential standard to the decision of the MESC Board of Review.

Digest author: Katrien Wilmots, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 3/30/2016

10. Voluntary Leaving

Dolce v Ford Motor Co – 10.22

Dolce v Ford Motor Co
Digest no. 10.22

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Dolce v Ford Motor Co, sub nom Parks v MESC, 427 Mich 224 (1986).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Dominick Dolce
Employer: Ford Motor Company
Docket no.: B78 52393 R01 59916
Date of decision: December 26, 1986

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: An individual who is forced to leave work pursuant to mandatory retirement provisions of a collective bargaining agreement is not disqualified under Section 29(1)(a) of the MES Act.

FACTS: The claimant was separated from his employment, at age 68, by operation of a mandatory retirement provision of the collective bargaining agreement.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “We do not believe that the drafters intended to deny benefits from persons unemployed due to being mandatorily retired. We recognize that under Michigan law the union is the collective bargaining agent for all the employees and in many respects the employee is bound by and accountable for the actions of its bargaining agent. However for purposes of determining voluntariness under the MESA, the collective bargaining process is too remote from the individual employees who come and go under it to allow those legislative presumptions under the state’s scheme of labor law to transform a forced retirement into a voluntary leaving.”

“The statute disqualifies those who have left work voluntarily. Dolce did not leave work voluntarily, but was forced to leave. … Dolce was helpless to stave off the aging process and his eventual termination. The presence of a union agreement with the employer does not change the relationship between the employee and employer with respect to this statutory inquiry. The language of the statute directs the inquiry to whether the worker left voluntarily and does not address any agreements between the employer and third parties.”

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

04. Total or Partial Unemployment

Miko v Wyandotte Cement, Inc – 4.11

Miko v Wyandotte Cement, Inc
Digest no. 4.11

Section 48

Cite as: Miko v Wyandotte Cement, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Wayne Circuit Court, issued February 8, 1983 (Docket No. 82-233794-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: David Miko
Employer: Wyandotte Cement, Inc.
Docket no.: B81 07873 78457
Date of decision: February 8, 1983

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A lay-off payment constitutes separation pay and is not remuneration under the Act.

FACTS: The claimant received a lay-off allowance pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement equivalent to one week’s wages.

DECISION: The claimant is eligible for benefits for the period covered by the lay-off allowance.

RATIONALE: “Separation pay may stem from a collective bargaining agreement or an individual contract between the employer and employee,” Gaydos v White Motors Corp, 54 Mich App 143 (1974).

“[B]efore an individual will be deemed to be unemployed, two requirements must be met. First, no service may be performed for the employer and second, no remuneration may be paid. … That [claimant] did not perform any work for his employer is clear; however [claimant] had received an allowance from his employer pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement. The allowance that [claimant] received was labeled lay-off pay.

“Separation pay is not payment for past wages earned, but rather is considered recognition of services rendered. If the allowance was simply remuneration for past services, then a claimant having earned it, would be entitled to it, regardless of the reason for separation.

“[I]t is the court’s opinion that the lay-off payment constituted separation pay and therefore falls within the Section 48 exemptions from remuneration. The payment served as compensation for job loss in recognition of past employment and not as remuneration for past services rendered.”

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