19. Federal Court Decisions & TRA

Valot v Southeast Local School District Board of Education – 19.07

Valot v Southeast Local School District Board of Education
Digest no. 19.07

Cite as: Valot v Southeast Local School Dist Board of Ed, 107 F3d 1220 (6th Cir 1997).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Sally Ann Valot
Employer: Southeast Local School District (Ohio) Board of Education
Docket no.: N/A
Date of decision: March 6, 1997

View/download the full decision

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS, SIXTH CIRCUIT HOLDING: School board did not violate drivers’ substantive due process or equal protection rights by refusing to rehire them.

FACTS: Plaintiffs were substitute bus drivers with nine month contracts with a school district in Ohio. They applied for and were paid unemployment compensation. As the employer did not have a practice of providing “reasonable assurance” to such employees, they were not ineligible for benefits by means of the Ohio school denial period provision. In the fall, the employer refused to rehire drivers who had collected benefits. Plaintiff drivers argued their constitutional rights were violated in that seeking and obtaining unemployment benefits is protected by the constitutional right of access and the right to petition for redress of a grievance.

DECISION: Affirmed dismissal of all federal claims.

RATIONALE: Employer’s interest in promoting efficiency of public service and protecting public funds is legitimate and outweighs claimants’ interest in seeking unemployment compensation. Employer’s action was related to legitimate state interest. No substantive due process rights violated. Nor was there a violation of equal protection. Employer’s decision not to rehire claimants was rationally related to a legitimate state interest.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 7/99

04. Total or Partial Unemployment

Barnett v Good Housekeeping Shop – 4.05

Barnett v Good Housekeeping Shop
Digest no. 4.05

Section 44

Cite as: Barnett v Good Housekeeping Shop, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued March 14, 1983 (Docket No. O/P B78 53596 60992); lv den 418 Mich 873 (1983).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Rebekah Barnett
Employer: Good Housekeeping Shop
Docket no.: O/P B78 53596 60992
Date of decision: March 14, 1983

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The distinction in Section 44(5)(a) and (c) of the MES Act as to the treatment of disability payments as wages depending on whether the disability benefits are paid directly to an employee or through a disability plan does not constitute a denial of equal protection.

FACTS: Claimant, a 12 year employee, was on a medical leave and received 26 weeks of medical disability benefits through a disability insurance plan provided by the employer. When her disability ended claimant’s employment was terminated. She applied for unemployment benefits but had insufficient credit weeks because the disability payments were not considered wages under Section 44(5) because they were paid through an insurance plan rather than directly to the employee.

DECISION: Claimant does not have sufficient credit weeks to establish a claim because disability payments she received do not constitute wages under Section 44 of the Act.

RATIONALE: “Equal protection in its guarantee of like treatment to all similarly situated citizens permits classification which is reasonable and not arbitrary and which is based upon material and substantial differences which have reasonable relation to the object or persons dealt with and to the public purpose or purposes sought to be achieved by the legislation involved. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination with respect to things that are different. Gauthier v Campbell, Wyant & Cannon Foundry Co360 Mich 510, 514 (1960). We find as did the trial court, that the legislative purpose in the distinction of Section 44 is to encourage the establishment of plans and systems which would financially aid workers when they are ill and disabled and for which unemployment benefits are not payable because the individual employees are not qualified under section 28 of the act, because they are not able and available for work due to the sickness or disability.”

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

05. Denial Periods

Michigan State Employees Association v MESC – 5.02

Michigan State Employees Association v MESC
Digest no. 5.02

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Michigan State Employees Ass’n v MESC, 94 Mich App 677 (1980); lv den, 408 Mich 952 (1980).

Appeal pending: No
Plaintiffs: Michigan State Employees Association, et al.
Defendants: Michigan Employment Security Commission, et al.
Docket no.:
Date of decision: January 9, 1980

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Application of the school denial period to instructional, research, professional and principal administrative employees of three named state schools is permitted by the United States Constitution.

FACTS: “The individual plaintiffs are a class of employees described as classified civil service employees of the State of Michigan employed in instructional, research, professional or principal administrative capacities at the State Technical Institute and Rehabilitation Center, the Michigan School for the Blind, and the Michigan School for the Deaf. They are normally employed 42 or 46 weeks per year being laid off during the summer close down of these institutions.”

DECISION: The plaintiffs’ complaint is dismissed.

RATIONALE: “The state’s failure to treat plaintiffs as it does other civil service employees who qualify for benefits during seasonal layoffs is not arbitrary and irrational. They are treated as are all other employees involved in the instruction and administration of local school and community college educational facilities. It appears that the legislature has uniformly excluded some seasonal employees from unemployment benefits for the purpose of protecting the fiscal integrity of the compensation program and possibly because the legislature held the opinion that employees know of the seasonal layoff well in advance (and may consider it an employment benefit) and are not faced with the same economic crunch’ as those who are unpredictably laid off during the year.

“The challenged statutory provision meets not only the ‘rational basis’ test, but also bears a ‘substantial relation’ to the purpose of the law.”

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

05. Denial Periods

Larkin v Bay City Public Schools – 5.01

Larkin v Bay City Public Schools
Digest no. 5.01

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Larkin v Bay City Pub Schools, 89 Mich App 199 (1979); lv den, 406 Mich 979 (1979).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Mary A. Larkin
Employer: Bay City Public Schools
Docket no.: B75 10784 50688
Date of decision: March 20, 1979

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: (1) The denial period for school employees is constitutional. (2) Advance notice of termination is not early severance for a school employee. (3) An academic year is not affected by a claimant’s particular circumstances.

FACTS: The claimant, a hall monitor, did not work during the summer vacation periods. “By letter dated March 25, 1975, plaintiff was informed by the Bay City School District that it did not plan to rehire her for the 1975-1976 school year, and that her employment was terminated as of June 7, 1975.” The claimant was denied benefits for the summer. She was recalled in September, 1975.

DECISION: The claimant is subject to the school denial period under Section 27(i) of the Act.

RATIONALE: “First, the most reasonable interpretation of Section 27(i)(3) requires that mere giving of notice of a future termination date does not serve to presently abrogate the employment relationship.”

“Plaintiff contends that because she would not be reemployed in September, 1975, there is no succeeding academic year.”

“The existence of an academic year, as envisioned by the legislature, is to be determined by the objective criteria of the calendar established by the district, and not by the individual’s particular circumstances.”

“Finally, the record shows that plaintiff did, in fact, resume her work in September of 1975, thus mooting her claim.”

“[W]e conclude that the instant legislation is to be examined by the traditional rational basis standard under which it comes before us clothed with a presumption of constitutional validity.”

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

01. Public Policy

Godsol d.b.a. Nu-Enamel Michigan Co v MUCC – 1.01

Godsol d.b.a. Nu-Enamel Michigan Co v MUCC
Digest no. 1.01

Section 2, 41(3)

Cite asGodsol v MUCC, 302 Mich 652 (1942).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: John T.Willcox
Employer: Arnold H. Godsol d.b.a. Nu-Enamel Michigan Co.
Docket no.: AB 4163 556
Date of decision: September 8, 1942

View/download the full decision

APPEAL BOARD HOLDING: The definition of “employer,” under former MES Act Section 41(3), since amended, was not limited to situations where the “employer” had legally enforceable control over the employing unit. Section 41 was not violative of the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment.

FACTS: Claimant was employed by Nu-Enamel Michigan, owned by Arnold Godsol. Helen Godsol, Arnold’s wife, operated Nu-Enamel Detroit. Neither of those businesses employed eight or more employees, the then requisite number for “employer” status under the MES Act. Combined they did have more than eight employees. Nu-Enamel Detroit was a sub-distributorship of Nu-Enamel Michigan and was established solely with Mrs. Godsol’s separate funds. In operating the business Mrs. Godsol relied on her husband for advice and assistance. He frequently visited her stores, gave directions to employees, received daily business reports, hired and discharged employees. At that time Section 41(3) provided for treatment of multiple employer units as a single employer, if owned or controlled, by legally enforceable means or otherwise, directly or indirectedly, by the same interests. The MESC treated the businesses as a single employer. As a result claimant was eligible for benefits. The Godsols challenged the Commissions interpretation of the word “control” and also challenged then Section 41(3) on equal protection grounds.

DECISION: Section 41(3) is not unconstitutional. Employer is a covered employer under the Act. Claimant entitled to benefits if otherwise eligible and qualified.

RATIONALE: “The purpose of the unemployment compensation act is to relieve the distress of economic insecurity due to unemployment. It was enacted in the interest of public welfare to provide for assistance to the unemployed, and as such is entitled to a liberal interpretation.”

Digest author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest updated: 6/91