10. Voluntary Leaving

Jones v. Pinconning Area Schools – 10.103

Jones v. Pinconning Area Schools
Digest No. 10.103

Section 421.29(1)(a)

Cite as: Jones v Pinconning Area Schools, unpublished opinion of the Bay County Circuit Court, issued April 5, 2007 (Docket No. 187403W).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Terese G. Jones
Employer: Pinconning Area Schools
Date of decision: April 5, 2007

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HOLDING: A claimant’s decision to voluntarily leave her job following a unilateral change in her employment agreement is with good cause attributable to her employer if the claimant notifies her employer about her concerns regarding the change in her employment agreement and gives her employer the opportunity to correct her concerns prior to her resignation.  

FACTS: Claimant began work for Pinconning Area Schools on August 1, 2005 after responding to a job posting that advertised an “initial two-year contract annually renewed for future years”. Claimant was provided with a “proposed” employment contract on the first day of her employment that contained a 30 day “at-will” provision. Claimant found this objectionable since it was contrary to the two-year contract that the job posting had promised. Claimant raised these concerns with her employer and was told that they did not wish to change the contract. A second proposed contract was given to Claimant, which Claimant signed on August 10, 2005. On August 11, 2005, Claimant tendered her resignation. The ALJ found that Claimant was disqualified from receiving benefits. The MCAC reversed, finding Claimant was not disqualified.   

DECISION: The Circuit Court affirmed the decision of the MCAC. Claimant is not disqualified from receiving benefits.

RATIONALE: The employer unilaterally changed the terms of Claimant’s employment because the employer’s only offer had been set forth in its job posting, and Claimant’s acceptance of the position was predicated by the terms that were set forth in the posting.

Material changes in an employment contract may constitute good cause for quitting if: (1) a claimant provides the employer with notice and an opportunity to correct the claimant’s concerns; (2) the employer fails to correct these concerns; and (3) the claimant’s concerns are reasonable. Here, it was reasonable for Claimant to be concerned about the unilateral change in her employment contract. Additionally, Claimant did provide employer with notice of her concerns and gave the employer an opportunity to correct her concerns prior to her resignation.

Digest author: Cydney Warburton, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 10/31/2017

11. Leaving to Accept

Dean v. Thrifty Services, Inc., UIA – 11.06

Dean v. Thrifty Services, Inc., UIA
Digest No. 11.06

Section 421.29(5)

Cite as: Dean v Thrifty Services, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Montmorency County Circuit Court, issued April 15, 2006 (Docket No. 05-1219 AE).

Appeal pending: No
John Dean
Employer: Thrifty Services, Inc.
Docket no.: 05-1219 AE
Date of decision: April 15, 2006

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HOLDING: A claimant’s employee status does not cease when the client failed to renew the contract.

FACTS: Claimant initially worker for Automobile First and provided personnel and employee leasing services to Thrifty Services. Claimant worked for Thrifty Services from May 30, 2001 until June 20, 2004 as a mechanic/manager. On June 30, 2004 Automobile First sold facility to SAD Inc who did not continue the contract with Thrifty Services. Claimant became an employee of SAD Inc.

DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified under Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: The Court affirmed claimant not disqualified under Section 29(1)(a), even though the employee leasing company transferred him to the client company’s payroll, shortly before the client ceased operations. After reviewing the record, the Board finds that there has not been an abuse of discretion. Therefore, the Referee’s order, a copy of which is attached and incorporated by this reference, should be affirmed.

Digest Author: Katrien Wilmots, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest Updated: 3/1/2016

05. Denial Periods

Kentwood Schools v Marks – 5.22

Kentwood Schools v Marks
Digest no. 5.22

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Kentwood Schools v Marks, unpublished opinion of the Kent Circuit Court, issued April 7, 2000 (Docket No. 99-02921-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Esther D. Marks
Employer: Kentwood Schools
Date of decision: April 7, 2000

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Under Section 27(i)(1), whether the terms and conditions of claimant’s employment are similar to previous work for the employer, is irrelevant to the issue of eligibility when a claimant has a contract in fact for the following school year.

FACTS: Claimant had been a paraprofessional reading instructor. Employer laid claimant off due to budget and personnel cutbacks. Claimant was able to bid on different positions, with equivalent pay, conditions and benefits. Given her seniority claimant was assured work in one of those positions if she wanted it. Instead claimant chose a non-instructional position with a significant decrease in hours and benefits. Claimant had a contract for employment for the following school year.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible for benefits under Section 27(i).

RATIONALE: “Even where there exists a reasonable assurance of continued employment, benefits may not be denied unless the terms and conditions of such employment are reasonably similar to those of the previous year.” Paynes v Detroit Board of Education, 150 Mich App 358 (1986). But, the existence of a contract negates any requirement for such similar terms and conditions. Paynes, supra, at 372, 373 and 378.

As the claimant had a contract for the following school term, the terms and conditions of claimant’s new employment were irrelevant on the issue of eligibility. The benefit ineligibility provisions of Section 27(i)(1) apply where there is 1) an actual contract or work, or, 2) reasonable assurance of work under similar terms and conditions in an instructional, research or principal administrative capacity.

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

17. Employee Status

Haas v Flint Institute of Music, Inc – 17.06

Haas v Flint Institute of Music, Inc
Digest no. 17.06

Section 42

Cite as: Haas v Flint Institute of Music, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Genesee County Circuit Court, issued December 28, 1982 (Docket No. L81 02161 1694).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Marc W. Haas
Employer: Flint Institute of Music, Inc.
Docket no.: L81 02161 1694
Date of decision: December 28, 1982

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BOARD OF REVIEW HOLDING: The test of employment is one of “economic reality” and not “control and direction” exclusively.

FACTS: Claimant signed a contract with the employer for the 1979-1980 concert season, which incorporated the provisions of the master contract between the American Federation of Musicians and the employer. The claimant furnished his own instrument and clothing. Claimant was paid $25 for each rehearsal and performance. Claimant also performed with the Michigan Chamber Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and also offered his services as a teacher.

DECISION: Claimant’s services are not excluded under Section 42(1) and (5) of the MES Act.

RATIONALE: McKissic v Bodine, 42 Mich App 203, 208 (1972) sets forth the principal factors to be considered in determining whether there is an employment relationship: First, what liability, if any, does the employer incur in the event of the termination of the relationship at will? Second, is the work being performed as an integral part of the employer’s business which contributes to the accomplishment of a common objective? Third, is the position or job of such a nature that the employee primarily depends upon the emolument for payment of his living expenses? Fourth, does the employee furnish his own equipment and materials? Fifth, does the individual seeking employment hold himself out to the public as one ready and able to perform tasks of a given nature? Sixth, is the work or the undertaking in question customarily performed by an individual as an independent contractor? Seventh, control, although abandoned as an exclusive criterion upon which the relationship can be determined, is a factor to be considered along with payment of wages, maintenance of discipline and the right to engage or discharge employees. In this case, the integrity of Claimant’s services to the employer’s overall objective was persuasive.

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