Categories
10. Voluntary Leaving

Hansen v Fox Haus Motor Lodge – 10.37

Hansen v Fox Haus Motor Lodge
Digest no. 10.37

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Hansen v Fox Haus Motor Lodge, unpublished opinion of the Wayne Circuit Court, issued August 16, 1984 (Docket No. 84-402-940 AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Jean Hansen
Employer: Fox Haus Motor Lodge
Docket no.: B83 10869 91613W
Date of decision: August 16, 1984

View/download the full decision

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Good cause attributable to the employer was shown for voluntary leaving where the record was barren of any standard of employment in the motel/inn industry or business.

FACTS: Claimant worked six days a week during the first eleven months of employment; but then she was required to work seven days per week, as well as on call at night, and without any vacation, except Christmas day.

DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “The record is barren of any standard of employment in the motel/inn industry or business. Absent extraordinary reasons for respondent to operate in such a fashion, the court finds this testimony appalling. Respondent’s requirement to have claimant perform the listed duties on a daily basis — except perhaps on a slow Christmas day — is tantamount to twentieth century slavery.”

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

Categories
16. Procedures/Appeals

Hoppe v City of Warren – 16.33

Hoppe v City of Warren
Digest No. 16.33

Section 421.32a

Cite as: Hoppe v City of Warren, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued August 26, 1983 (Docket No. 67671).

Court: State of Michigan Court of Appeals
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Chester M. Hoppe
Employer: City of Warren
Date of decision: August 26, 1983

View/download the full decision

HOLDING: Claimant failed to establish good cause for his untimely appeal of the redetermination.

FACTS: Claimant retired involuntarily as a City of Warren employee because a city ordinance required forced retirement of its employees at age 65. He applied with MESC for unemployment benefits but was deemed ineligible because the City had an equivalent unemployment compensation ordinance.  Claimant timely appealed that determination. A redetermination followed which held again that Claimant was ineligible for unemployment compensation.

DECISION: The Court held that the Claimant’s argument that he failed to timely appeal a redetermination because of a good-faith misunderstanding of agency procedures is not supported by the record. The MESC employee’s instructions to plaintiff to stop reporting was not misinformation or information that would cause an average reasonable person to file an untimely appeal. After the 20- day appeal period had passed, Claimant filed an untimely appeal for  review of the redetermination. MESC denied his request because he failed to show good cause for the untimely appeal.

Claimant timely appealed the boards denial and requested a hearing before an ALJ. At the hearing, Claimant testified that he received the notice of redetermination but failed to read the portion instructing him that he had 20 days to file an appeal. He also said he did not file a timely appeal because an agent of the MESC told him he no longer needed to report. The ALJ decided that Claimant failed to establish good cause for his untimely appeal of the redetermination.

RATIONALE: The Court was limited to the construction of the phrase “good cause” in Section 421.32a. The MESC also issued a regulation which includes guidelines for what constitutes good cause. While the Court agreed that the examples of good cause included in the guidelines are not self limiting. Additionally, they recognized that a claimant’s good-faith misunderstanding of agency procedures may be a basis for good cause for delay. Good cause for delay may also occur when a reasonable claimant relies upon misinformation or incorrect guidance given to the claimant by an MESC employee.

Claimant admitted that he failed to timely appeal because he neglected to read the notice of redetermination. The MESC employee’s instruction to stop reporting was not misinformation or information that would cause an average reasonable claimant to file an untimely appeal.

Digest author: Sara Posner, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: December 5, 2017

Categories
10. Voluntary Leaving

Hibbard v Tuff Kote Dinol Rustproof – 10.15

Hibbard v Tuff Kote Dinol Rustproof
Digest no. 10.15

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Hibbard v Tuff Kote Dinol Rustproof, unpublished opinion of the Muskegon Circuit Court issued May 17, 1983 (Docket No. 82-17148 AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Thomas Hibbard
Employer: Tuff Kote Dinol Rustproof
Docket no.: B82 13562 85191W
Date of decision: May 17, 1983

View/download the full decision

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: ” … An employee whose work duties include activities which require the employee to violate federal, state or local laws has demonstrated good cause attributable to the employer or employing unit.”

FACTS: Claimant terminated his employment because his company advertised to the public a “two-step” rust proofing process which involved the application of both a penetrant and a sealant; however, the management of the firm often instructed claimant to apply only the penetrant or only the sealant to an automobile. Claimant felt that he was “cheating the public” and not doing the rust-proofing jobs properly or as advertised, and that numerous customer complaints resulted from this practice. After protesting to management about this improper and inadequate procedure, claimant resigned.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: The employer’s occasional practice of requiring claimant to utilize a one-step rust proofing process when the employer advertised to the public a two-step rust proofing process compelled claimant to participate in practices which were in clear violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, MCLA 445.901 et seq, MSA 19.418(1) et seq.

The Court adopted the reasoning of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in Zinman v Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 8 Pa Cmwlth 649, 305 A2d 380 (1973), in which the Court held that a legal duty to obey laws may constitute appropriate circumstances for an employee to voluntarily terminate employment and still qualify for unemployment compensation benefits. Claimant acted in good faith and as a reasonable person in terminating his employment rather than continue in an illegal practice. Claimant had good cause to resign, and this good cause was directly attributable to the employer.

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

Categories
10. Voluntary Leaving

Butler v City of Newaygo – 10.125

Butler v City of Newaygo
Digest No. 10.125

Section 421.29

 

Cite as: Butler v City of Newaygo, 115 Mich App 445 (1982).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Neil Butler
Employer: City of Newaygo
Date of decision: April 21, 1982

View/download the full decision

 

HOLDING: There was ample evidentiary support for the administrative decision that the claimant was ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits under MCL 421.29(1)(a).

FACTS: Claimant was superintendent of sewers, superintendent of water, and superintendent for public works for the City of Newaygo. The city manager relieved Claimant of his duties as superintendent of public works. However, he retained his other positions, and his salary remained unchanged. Claimant did not oppose this change.

One day, the city manager reprimanded Claimant for providing municipal equipment to a private contractor without having first secured the proper authorization from the city manager. In that same month, someone broke into a city pump house and ruined the engine. Everyone, including Claimant, who had keys to the pump house was asked to take a lie detector test regarding this incident. However, the test was not administered. Claimant then resigned, alleging that he was forced to do so.

DECISION: The circuit court order affirming the ALJ’s denial of the requested benefits is affirmed. Regarding Claimant’s second issue on appeal about transcript fees, the court found that Claimant is entitled to immediate return of any money advanced by him for circuit court transcripts.

RATIONALE: The court reasoned that although the city manager removed Claimant from the public works superintendent position without following the proper procedures by securing a city council resolution on it, the removal without a council resolution did not constitute good cause to quit. In addition, the reprimand was not without basis in city policy, which is uncontested by Claimant. Thus, the reprimand did not constitute good cause to quit either.

Further, Claimant’s feeling that he was personally affronted by the request to take a lie detector test does not constitute good cause to quit. The test was not required, and refusal to take the test was not met with threats for disciplinary action. Claimant objected to the lie detector test only because he felt unjustly accused for the pump’s damage, which is not good cause for quitting.

The court also rejected Claimant’s assertion that he was “‘compelled’ by the ‘iron hand of the tyrant [i.e., his employer]’” to resign, because it was not supported by the record. Awarding the Claimant unemployment insurance benefits would have undermined the legislative policy to combat the burden of involuntary employment under MCL 421.29(1)(a).

Digest author: Rita Samaan, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 25, 2017

Categories
18. Restitution, Waiver, Fraud

Garza v Hilltop Orchards & Nurseries, Inc – 18.05

Garza v Hilltop Orchards & Nurseries, Inc
Digest no. 18.05

Section 62(a)

Cite as: Garza v Hilltop Orchards & Nurseries Inc, unpublished opinion of the Van Buren Circuit Court, issued December 17, 1981 (Docket No. B79 13459 70571).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Silvestra J. Garza
Employer: Hilltop Orchards & Nurseries, Inc.
Docket no.: B79 13459 70571
Date of decision: December 17, 1981

View/download the full decision

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: An administrative clerical error is good cause for a reconsideration of a determination no longer subject to review due to expiration of the protest period.

FACTS: The Commission held that claimant was disqualified and must serve a 13 week requalification period. Claimant’s benefit entitlement was shown reduced from 16 to 3 weeks. After claimant completed requalification requirements, a determination was issued which erroneously showed that claimant was entitled to 16 weeks of benefits rather than 3 weeks. Claimant thus received 16 benefit checks. Upon receipt of information from the employer that an error had been made in claimant’s entitlement, the Commission issued a reconsideration holding that claimant must repay the excess benefits.

DECISION: The claimant must repay the excess benefits.

RATIONALE: “The evidence shows a reduction was contemplated by the Commission but was not consummated. There is no doubt that the Commission determined that [claimant] must wait 13 weeks for her benefits. When [claimant] became entitled to her benefits, the very document which granted 16 weeks of benefits recognized that she had requalified after 13 weeks, but failed to make the required reduction. That the benefits were not reduced according to MCLA 421.29(4); MSA 17.531 (4), can only be attributed to an administrative clerical error, since no new determination or redetermination was made that [claimant] should not have had to fulfill the 13 week requalification period, and it was, therefore, clear that the statutory formula should have been applied. Further, at the point at which the formula should have been applied to reduce the benefit entitlement, the act of reduction is a statutory requirement, not a discretionary decision.”

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

Categories
16. Procedures/Appeals

Donahoo v. Michigan Department of Social Services & Michigan Employment Security Commission – 16.10

Donahoo v. Michigan Department of Social Services &– Michigan Employment Security Commission
Digest No. 16.10

Section 421.32a(2)

Cite as: Donahoo v Mich Dep’t of Soc Servs, Unpublished opinion of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, issued February 15, 1980 (Docket No. 79-17785-AE).

Court: Circuit Court of Washtenaw County
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Leonard Donahoo
Employer: State of Michigan, Department of Social Services
Date of decision: February 15, 1980

View/download the full decision

HOLDING: The Agency’s failure to serve Claimant with a determination notice prevented the 20-day statutory appeal period from triggering. Because the appeal limitation was not triggered, Claimant’s appeal was timely.

FACTS: The order provides no facts, and I could not find the docket, so as to read briefing. One can infer this was a good cause for reopening case under 32a(2) where the claimant appealed after the 20-day (now 30-day) period, but before the one-year statute of limitations. The Agency, one can infer, demurred claimant’s appeal and the adjudicating body (ALJ/MCAC) sustained the Agency’s position that the appeal was not timely. Claimant appealed to the Circuit Court.

DECISION: Because the Agency didn’t send claimant a determination, the court found Claimant had good cause for reopening for lack of adequate notice. The court further held that without a determination by the Agency, Claimant’s appeal window could not be triggered.

RATIONALE: Again, there is only an order, so the rationale is non-existent. One can infer that this hinged on a due process argument. Without proper notice claimant had no way to know the Agency was taking action against him.

Digest author: Travis Miller, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: December 23, 2017

Categories
10. Voluntary Leaving

Wasolaskus v Tom’s Grandville Station – 10.21

Wasolaskus v Tom’s Grandville Station
Digest no. 10.21

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Wasolaskus v Tom’s Grandville Station, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review, issued August 21, 1978 (Docket No. FSB76 13211 55248).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Dennis Wasolaskus
Employer: Tom’s Grandville Station
Docket no.: FSB76 13211 55248
Date of decision: August 21, 1978

View/download the full decision

BOARD OF REVIEW HOLDING: A seventeen (17) percent reduction in wages is good cause for voluntarily leaving part-time work.

FACTS: The claimant was a part-time attendant at a filling station. He worked 20 hours per week at $2.50 per hour. The claimant’s pay was subsequently reduced about $40.00 per month by his removal from the Saturday work schedule. The claimant resigned as a result.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE:Jack Desser, d/b/a/ Jack Desser Biscuit Company v Appeal Board, Wayne County Circuit Court, No. 324-748 (July 5, 1962), held that a ‘substantial reduction’ in wages can constitute ‘good cause’ for quitting one’s employment. The ‘substantial reduction’ in Desser consisted of a 20 percent reduction in claimant’s gross commissions. The curtailment of hours imposed by employer upon claimant in this case would have reduced his income by approximately 17 percent if he had continued his employment. The reduction in wages was ‘substantial.’

“The part-time nature of claimant’s employment does not, per se alter the substantiality of the reduction in claimant’s wages.”

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

Categories
10. Voluntary Leaving

Holmquist v Swiss Colony Store – 10.25

Holmquist v Swiss Colony Store
Digest no. 10.25

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Holmquist v Swiss Colony Store, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review, issued July 27, 1978 (Docket No. B76 9343 54085).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Garth H. Holmquist
Employer: Swiss Colony Store
Docket no.: B76 9343 54085
Date of decision: July 27, 1978

View/download the full decision

BOARD OF REVIEW HOLDING: Where economic pressure motivates a claimant to leave stop-gap employment which does not pay a living wage, the separation is not disqualifying.

FACTS: “In this case, the claimant obtained stop-gap employment in a Madison, Wisconsin food shop while attempting to obtain employment commensurate with his educational and career objectives. The job provided about twenty hours of work per week, paid only $2.20 per hour, and was to end around January 1, 1976.” The claimant quit on December 19, 1975 to return to Michigan. He testified that he had been unable to find permanent work in Wisconsin and could not afford to remain there. His wife was unemployed as well.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “Where an employee is unable to earn a living wage at his job, his leaving the job is involuntary and not disqualifying. Brainard v Employment Compensation Commission of Delaware, 76 A2d1 26 (1950), cited approvingly by Justice Edwards in Lyons v Employment Security Commission, 363 Mich 201 (1961).”

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

Categories
10. Voluntary Leaving

Setta v Chrysler Corp – 10.13

Setta v Chrysler Corp
Digest no. 10.13

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Setta v Chrysler Corp, unpublished opinion of the Wayne Circuit Court, issued September 3, 1959 (No. 301-977).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Richard Setta
Employer: Chrysler Corporation
Docket no.: B58 6122 22034
Date of decision: September 3, 1959

View/download the full decision

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A claimant who makes a good faith attempt at earning a living but is unable to earn a living wage is not disqualified for benefits pursuant to Section 29(1)(a) when he quits.

FACTS: Claimant was laid off from Chrysler for lack of work. He later obtained work as a salesman for the Brown Company. Claimant began his sales job with a salary and commission. After 6 weeks he went to straight commission. After he shifted to commission, the claimant’s income dropped so low he could not earn a living wage. The drop of wages was not the result of any lack of effort on the claimant’s part.

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

RATIONALE: “The 2nd and 29th sections of the Michigan Statute when taken together, suggest that the test intended by the voluntary quit provision of Section 29 is this: Was the employee driven to leave by external pressures rather than subjective conveniences or desires. If the external pressure is great enough to make it perfectly reasonable to quit, then Section 29 of the statute does not seem to me to impose any disqualification. When one earns only $21.00 a month with nothing better in prospect, the alternatives are simple; either to starve or to quit. Under such circumstances, is there really any choice? And, when one is compelled to take the only available course, can he be said to have voluntarily done anything? Where, as in the Setta case, the pressure stems from lack of earnings sufficient to provide one’s family with the barest necessities, and with nothing better in prospect, it seems to me that there is external pressure great enough to make quitting a perfectly reasonable, indeed, an inescapable, act. Under these circumstance, either there is not a voluntary leaving of work or there is good cause for voluntarily quitting which is attributable to the employer.”

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