13. Refusal of Work

Gilliam v. Chrysler Corp. – 13.03

Gilliam v. Chrysler Corp.
Digest No. 13.03
Section 421.29(1)(d) & 421.29(6)

Cite as: Gilliam v. Chrysler Corp., 72 Mich. App. 538, 250 N.W.2d 123 (1976)
Court: Court of Appeals of Michigan
Appeal pending: No
Claimants: James Gilliam and William Lake
Employer: Chrysler Corporation
Date of decision: December 2, 1976

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HOLDING: In determining suitability of a work, the distance factor should be considered based not solely on mileage, but also the statutory factors of each individual case, such as the age and health of the employee, the hours of travel, traffic conditions, the availability and reliability of transportation, the prospects for securing local work, and other factors under MCLA § 421.29(6).

FACTS: Defendant employer appealed a judgment of the Monroe County Circuit Court, which found that plaintiff employees were eligible for unemployment benefits and reversed the decisions of the Employment Security Appeal Board that had denied benefits to each employee. Both employees had been laid off and were offered interviews to work at plants located approximately 40 miles from their homes. One employee turned around before reaching the interview because it was too far of a distance. The other employee refused the offer of employment because his vehicle was not apt for the commute. The employees would also have lost their recall rights to return to local work at the plants near their residences. The Appeal Board held that the employees did not establish good cause to refuse the “available suitable work” under § 421.29 of the Michigan Employment Security Act (MESA), and thus, were ineligible for continued unemployment benefits. The circuit court reversed.

DECISION: The court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment.

RATIONALE: Although it may be that loss of recall rights is not good cause by itself for refusing suitable work, Losada v Chrysler Corp, 24 Mich App 656; 180 NW2d 844 (1970), it is, nevertheless, a fact which, like many other facts, may have bearing upon one or more of the § 29(6) factors for determining suitability in the first instance. Offered employment which is otherwise suitable may be unsuitable if it jeopardizes good prospects for recall to local work in an individual’s customary occupation. Furthermore, loss of recall may have a bearing on the distance factor, because the harshness of an individual travel for work depends on whether it is a temporary or permanent requirement.

Digest author: Toni Suh, Michigan Law, Class of 2020
Digest updated: January 29, 2021

13. Refusal of Work

Keith v. Chrysler Corp. – 13.01

Keith v. Chrysler Corp.
Digest No. 13.01
Section 421.29(1)

Cite as: Keith v. Chrysler Corp, 390 Mich. 458, 213 N.W.2d 147 (1973)
Court: Supreme Court of Michigan
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: John Keith
Employer: Chrysler Corporation
Date of decision: December 18, 1973

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HOLDING: On appeal, the court held that the employee was provided a reasonable time to report for the interview because the employer waited two and one-half months to file a notice of possible disqualification.

FACTS: The employee was hired by defendant employer to work at a certain location. He was laid off for lack of available work. The employer notified the employee of an interview for work at a different location, but the employee did not go. The appeal board disqualified the employee from receiving unemployment benefits for failure to comply with the requirements of § 29(1)(d) of the MESA, by failing, without good cause, to report to his employer for the interview. The appeals court upheld the appeal board’s decision.

DECISION: The court affirmed the appeals court’s decision to uphold the appeal board’s denial of unemployment benefits to the employee.
RATIONALE: The employee showed no good cause for his failure where the interview was a reasonable distance from his residence and the time was flexible. His dislike for the potential work and desire to maintain status at the first plant did not constitute good cause.

Digest author: Toni Suh, Michigan Law, Class of 2020
Digest updated: January 29, 2021

10. Voluntary Leaving

Laya v Cebar Construction Co – 10.05

Laya v Cebar Construction Co
Digest no. 10.05

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Laya v Cebar Construction Co, 101 Mich App 26 (1980).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: David Laya
Employer: Cebar Construction
Docket no.: B76 10141 54586
Date of decision: October 23, 1980

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: “Voluntary” as used in Section 29(1)(a) must connote a decision based upon a choice between alternatives which ordinary men would find reasonable.

FACTS: The claimant lived in Warren, Michigan with his family. In 1976 he was laid off and could not find work in his local area. Through his union he learned of work in Cincinnati, Ohio. He accepted the job, lived in Ohio during the week and drove home (272 miles) on weekends. The distance created difficulties within the family and trouble in making the drive. He quit after 25 days.

DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified for benefits pursuant to Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: Where the claimant was not faced with a choice between alternatives that ordinary persons would consider reasonable, his choice was “no choice at all,” and his leaving was involuntary and non-disqualifying.

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