Categories
16. Procedures/Appeals

Kas-Petrus v. Bushings, Inc. – 16.78

Kas-Petrus v. Bushings, Inc.
Digest No. 16.78

Section 421.32(a)

Cite as: Kas-Petrus v Bushings, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Macomb County Circuit Court, issued April 10, 2007 (Docket No. 2006-5196-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Muayed Kas-Petrus
Employer: Bushings, Inc.
Date of decision: April 10, 2007

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HOLDING: MCL 421.32(a) does not require fault by the Agency to demonstrate good cause for his untimely appeal. Despite this, a claimant’s failure to timely appeal a determination due to a language barrier does not constitute good cause under MCL 421.32(a) when the claimant failed to notify the Agency of his language barrier and failed to explain why his appeal was untimely.

FACTS: On December 11, 2006, the Unemployment Insurance Agency determined Claimant was disqualified from benefits under MCL 421.29(1)(b). Claimant submitted an untimely appeal for this determination on January 26, 2006.

During an ALJ hearing, Claimant testified that his primary language was Arabic and that he could not read English. Claimant lived with his son, who spoke and read fluent English. Claimant’s son read the disqualifying determination to Claimant shortly after Claimant received it. The son informed Claimant that he was denied unemployment benefits but did not inform him of his right to appeal. Two weeks later, Claimant’s sister-in-law informed Claimant of his right to appeal. Despite still having time within his 30 day appeal window, Claimant did not appeal and was unable to explain to the ALJ why his protest was untimely.

The ALJ held that Claimant did not have good cause for his untimely appeal. The ALJ emphasized that the late protest could not be attributed to the Agency because appellant failed to inform the Agency that he required language assistance. The Board of Review affirmed the ALJ’s ruling. Claimant appealed to the Macomb County Circuit Court.

DECISION: The Board of Review’s decision is affirmed because Claimant lacked good cause for his untimely appeal under MCL 421.32(a). Claimant did not have a “legitimate inability to act sooner” under Agency Rule 421.270(d) because he was unable to explain why he filed in an untimely manner. Furthermore, Claimant’s language barrier did not constitute good cause because he failed to inform the Agency of his need for language assistance.

RATIONALE: MCL 421.32(a) provides claimants 30 days to file an appeal to an Agency determination. A claimant may appeal beyond the 30 day period if the claimant has good cause for the untimely appeal. MCL 421.32(a)(2).

Under Agency Rule 421.270(d), “good cause” includes a party’s “legitimate inability to act sooner.” Claimant argued that his inability to read English constituted a legitimate inability to act sooner. Claimant also argued that good cause does not require fault by the Agency.

The Court agreed that a claimant does not need to demonstrate Agency fault to show good cause under MCL 421.32(a). However, the Court rejected Claimant’s contention that he had a legitimate inability to act sooner. Claimant was informed of his right to appeal by his sister-in-law before the 30 day appeal period expired. Despite this, Claimant failed to file a timely appeal and offered no explanation. Because the Claimant was provided notice of his right to appeal within the 30 day period and failed to demonstrate why he appealed late, Claimant lacks good cause under MCL 421.32(a).

Digest author: Sean Higgins, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 31, 2017

Categories
12. Misconduct 16. Procedures/Appeals

Hill v Department of Community Health – 16.76

Hill v Department of Community Health
Digest No. 16.76

Section 421.29; Section 421.32

Cite as: Hill v Dep’t of Community Health, unpublished opinion of the Wayne County Circuit Court, issued September 27, 2005 (Docket No. 05-514911-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Darlene Hill
Employer: Department of Community Health; State of Michigan, Department of Labor & Economic Growth
Date of decision: September 27, 2005

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HOLDING: When a claimant incorrectly thinks she is terminated and there is no evidence that 1) she acted with deliberate intent to evade her job responsibilities, or 2) her employer communicated its expectations to her, she has not committed misconduct by failing to appear at work, even if it was ignorant of her to believe that she was terminated. Section 421.32 provides that if within ten days the employer does not respond to the Agency’s request for information, the Agency shall decide the matter on the information provided. Furthermore, if the employer cannot show that it reasonably could not meet the ten day deadline, all benefits paid before the employer’s reply was received are deemed proper.

FACTS: The patient Claimant was tending indicated that he did not want her in his home because Claimant could not physically perform the necessary tasks. Claimant thought that the patient was her employer, and did not realize that the Department of Community Health was actually her employer. Claimant did not seek a new assignment and thought her job was terminated.  The employer did not respond to the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s request for information, did not send a representative to the hearing, and did not file a brief on appeal. The Board of Review denied benefits to Claimant on the basis of a voluntary quit.

DECISION: The claimant’s disqualification from benefits is reversed.

RATIONALE: Claimant was not told how to seek another assignment. She did not appear to have acted with deliberate intent to evade her job responsibilities, nor was she warned of any deficiencies in her performance. “Unless an employer’s expectations can be expected to ‘flow naturally’ from the employee relationship itself . . . they must be communicated to the employee before they can serve as a proper basis for a charge of misconduct.” McAlpin v Wood River Med. Ctr., 921 P2d 178, 183 (Idaho 1966) (quoting Davis v Howard O. Miller Co., 695 P2d 1231, 1233 (Idaho 1984)). There was not evidence of communication here. A decision “cannot rest upon mere conjecture or speculation.” Clements v Clements, 2 Mich App 370, 374 (1966). Therefore, because the employer has the burden to show misconduct, the lack of evidence of misconduct here compelled a finding for the employee. In addition, the testimony of even a single witness (in this instance, the claimant) can meet the substantial evidence standard.

Section 421.32 provides that if within ten days the employer does not respond to the Agency’s request for information, the Agency shall decide the matter on the information provided. Furthermore, if the employer cannot show that it reasonably could not meet the ten day deadline, all benefits paid before the employer’s reply was received are deemed proper.

Digest author: Winne Chen, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 30, 2017