10. Voluntary Leaving

Levesque v Meijer Thrifty Acres – 10.63

Levesque v Meijer Thrifty Acres
Digest no. 10.63

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Levesque v Meijer Thrifty Acres, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued July 24, 1989 (Docket No. 111618).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Nancy Levesque
Employer: Meijer Thrifty Acres
Docket no.: B87-02390-105594
Date of decision: July 24, 1989

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Good cause was not established where claimant’s leaving was triggered by her personal affront and hurt feelings due to her supervisor’s rude and sarcastic comments.

FACTS: Claimant was employed for approximately two years as a secretary to the store’s incumbent director. She voluntarily left her employment. She contends her leaving was with good cause because the store director was allegedly rude and sarcastic to her.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: It was found that the store manager’s “quick wit” may have been unpleasant for the claimant but was not such that it would have caused an average employee to leave his or her employment. The court reasoned that feeling personally affronted by an action taken by one’s supervisor does not constitute good cause, citing Butler v City of Newaygo, 115 Mich App 445 (1982) and, citing cases from other states, observed that hurt feelings engendered by a supervisor’s sarcasm have not been found to rise to the level of good cause entitling a person to receive unemployment benefits. Similarly, hurt feelings caused by a supervisor’s ignoring an employee also do not amount to good cause.

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

10. Voluntary Leaving

Giebel v State of Michigan – 10.29

Giebel v State of Michigan
Digest no. 10.29

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Giebel v State of Michigan, unpublished opinion of the Midland Circuit Court, issued October 1, 1974 (Docket No. B71 2038 40969).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Richard A. Giebel
Employer: State of Michigan
Docket no.: B71 2038 40969
Date of decision: October 1, 1974

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where supervisory sarcasm and co-worker harassment make an employee persona non grata in the work place, the entire course of conduct becomes attributable to the employer, and may constitute good cause for voluntary leaving, even where the claimant does not use the grievance procedure.

FACTS: The claimant worked as a Public Welfare Trainee in the Department of Social Services. The Court adopted the Referee’s findings, and said:

“In summary, it appears that the claimant made certain objections to the conduct of fellow employees with regard to drinking beer in the offices and taking home shoes which had been donated for indigents. These complaints, going over the head of supervisors in some instances, and personality idiosyncrasies of the claimant made him persona non grata with co-employees and supervisors. They engaged in a course of conduct which claimant describes as harassment.”

The Referee found that when the claimant asked for a day off, “The employer stated that he was permitted to take the day off. She further stated that he did not need written permission. His supervisor then said, ‘Just go away and stay away and don’t bother to come back.'” The claimant resigned, without filing a grievance, after staff members ransacked his office, put a mental health manual on his desk and posted a religious caricature on his office door, to teach him a lesson.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “The brief of the Appellee admits only the ‘sarcastic statement by an irritated superior on one occasion,’ but when that statement is placed in the time sequence of the other acts of harassment the entire course of conduct becomes attributable to the employer. Passive employer approval can be sufficient. Taylored Products, Inc. v MESC, Berrien Circuit #C-3963-H (1966), 5 CCH Unemployment Insurance Reporter Section 1975.949.”

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