12. Misconduct

Chrysler Corp v Adams (Woolsey) – 12.26

Chrysler Corp v Adams (Woolsey)
Digest no. 12.26

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Chrysler Corp v Adams, unpublished opinion of the Ingham Circuit Court, issued March 5, 1979 (Docket No. 77-20043 AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Thomas G. Adams (Woolsey)
Employer: Chrysler Corp.
Docket no.: B73 8026 46162
Date of decision: March 5, 1979

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where a supervisor’s use of profanity, racial insults, and the threat of bodily harm, compounded by denial of such conduct, leads to a plant shutdown, the claimant’s resulting discharge is for misconduct.

FACTS: The claimant was a supervisor. In spite of a warning receive after a walkout, the claimant deliberately confronted an employee with profanity, racial insults and the threat of bodily harm. The claimant denied his conduct initially. After employees shut down much of the plant, he admitted the essential details and was discharged.

DECISION: The claimant was discharged for misconduct.

RATIONALE: “An important element in the examination of a misconduct situation is to view the level of responsibility the claimant owes to the employer and what hardship was caused the employer by the claimant’s action. Wickey v Employment Security Commission, 369 Mich 487, 502 (1963). Disqualification for misconduct may be based on one incident or a series of acts that evidence the requisite disregard for the employer’s interest. Booker v Employment Security Commission, 369 Mich 547 (1963); and Giddens v Employment Security Commission, 4 Mich App 526 (1966). Conduct reported after a warning about the continuation of certain acts had constituted misconduct under the ‘last straw’ doctrine. Giddens, supra at 535. Michigan courts have also found misconduct in the use of foul, profane and provocative language. Miller v FW Woolworth, 359 Mich 342 (1960); Carter v Employment Security Commission, 364 Mich 538 (1961).

“Plaintiff was not acting as a ‘reasonable person to great provocation,’ but as the aggressor failed to abide by the higher standard of behavior demanded of management personnel. Furthermore, plaintiff lied to his superiors, which precluded them from averting an unnecessary and harmful plant “shutdown.”

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