Categories
12. Misconduct

Washington v. Michigan Training Unit, Department of Corrections – 12.151

Washington v. Michigan Training Unit, Department of Corrections

Digest No. 12.151
Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Washington v Michigan Training Unit, unpublished opinion of the Ingham County Circuit Court, issued March 27, 2007 (Docket No. 06-869-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Shawonna Washington
Employer: Michigan Training Unit, Department of Corrections
Date of decision: March 27, 2007

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HOLDING: None of the following constitute misconduct under Section 421.29(1)(b): (1) absence for illness supported by a doctor’s note, (2) pre-authorized absence to attend a funeral, and (3) absence for inability to drive a long distance due to lack of gas money.

FACTS: Claimant’s employer required her to subscribe to a “last chance agreement” to address her job performance. The employer later deemed she violated it for: (1) absence for illness supported by a doctor’s note, (2) pre-authorized absence to attend a funeral, and (3) absence for inability to drive a long distance due to lack of gas money. Claimant was then disqualified from benefits by the UIA based on a determination of work-related misconduct. The ALJ and Board of Review affirmed.

DECISION: The alleged violations did not rise to misconduct under Section 421.29(1)(b).

RATIONALE: The lower decisions erred by failing to properly apply the Michigan Supreme Court’s “carelessness or negligence principle,” Carter v Employment Security Comm., 364 Mich 538 (1961), to the claimant’s conduct. This principle requires behavior to be more culpable than ordinary negligence or inadvertence—which was all the claimant’s behavior was—to be misconduct. The court found nothing in the record to support a finding of willful disregard of the employer’s interest by Claimant. At most, Claimant was unable to understand what was expected of her, made a good-faith error, or was inadvertently remiss. None of these failings rises to misconduct. Furthermore, even had Claimant violated the agreement, this would not have necessarily constituted misconduct. And in any case, as a matter of law such a violation would not be connected with the work because it was a rule of selection and not one of conduct. Reed v Employment Security Comm, 364 Mich 395 (1961).

Digest author: Austin L. Webbert, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: November 26, 2017

Categories
12. Misconduct

Brown v MESC – 12.13

Brown v MESC
Digest no. 12.13

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Brown v MESC, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued December 17, 1986, (Docket No. B84 06483 97069W).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Robert Charles Brown
Employer: Ford Motor Company
Docket no.: B84 06483 97069W
Date of decision: December 17, 1986

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Leaving work early, like absence, cannot support a finding of misconduct unless the absence is without good cause. Failure to notify the employer of the need to leave early, even where the leaving is for good cause, may constitute misconduct, after similar prior infractions for which discipline has been issued. However, even where there have been similar previous incidents, the circumstances of the final incident must be examined.

FACTS: Claimant knew the employer’s procedure required him to inform a foreman that he was leaving. If that was not possible he was to inform a co-worker. Claimant left his workplace because he was suffering from diarrhea which had caused him to soil himself. Claimant was unable to locate a foreman and failed to notify a co-worker.

After arriving home claimant made one unsuccessful attempt to call the employer. He made no further attempts since his illness largely confined him to the bathroom. Claimant went to his doctor that evening and provided the employer with an excuse from the doctor upon his return to work the following day. Claimant had been disciplined 5 times previously for being absent or leaving work without permission.

DECISION: Claimant’s separation was not for misconduct. Claimant is not disqualified.

RATIONALE: “We note that absences, and by logical extension, leaving work early, cannot support a finding of misconduct unless the absence is without good cause. … We believe that plaintiff’s previous infractions militate in favor of a finding that this inaction bordered on a ‘wilful or wanton disregard for [the] employer’s interests.’ However, we do not believe that the previous infractions are dispositive given the sensitive nature of plaintiff’s circumstances on the particular day in question.”

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

Categories
12. Misconduct

Lovell v Bedell’s Restaurant, Inc – 12.16

Lovell v Bedell’s Restaurant, Inc
Digest no. 12.16

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Lovell v Bedell’s Restaurant, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued March 20, 1985 (Docket No. 74713).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Olga Lovell
Employer: Bedell’s Restaurant, Inc.
Docket no.: B82 03183 RO1 83321
Date of decision: March 20, 1985

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Plaintiff’s failure to report for work may have been grounds for her dismissal, but it does not amount to misconduct.

FACTS: Plaintiff was a 15-year employee/waitress. Two weeks in advance she became aware that she was scheduled to work New Year’s Eve along with the other waitresses. On December 30, claimant told the employer that she was ill. The employer made it clear to all waitresses that if they did not work New Year’s Eve they would be fired. Claimant called in sick and was discharged. Claimant did not see a doctor.

DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified for misconduct.

RATIONALE: Relying on Linski v ESC, 358 Mich 239 (1959), the Court found that even though there was competent, material and substantial evidence on the whole record to support her refusal to work was motivated more by personal reasons that by illness, “it is clear that whether plaintiff’s actions amounted to misconduct depends upon a finding that she was, in fact, not ill.” The employer did not present evidence to show claimant was not ill. The employer has no right to depend upon a possibly ill employee working.

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