10. Voluntary Leaving

Mathews v Transportation Management, Inc – 10.84

Mathews v Transportation Management, Inc
Digest no. 10.84

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Mathews v Transportation Mgt, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Kalamazoo Circuit Court, issued February 9, 1996 (Docket No. B95-0144-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Mary Mathews
Employer: Transportation Management, Inc.
Docket no.: B93-01271-126090W
Date of decision: February 9, 1996

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: When the employer is aware of a complaint of sexual harassment, fails to take steps to rectify the problem after adequate notice and the problem is likely to persist or repeat, the leaving is with good cause attributable to the employer.

FACTS: The claimant was sexually harassed by two male co-workers. She informed her supervisor, and the men’s supervisor, about the harassment. The claimant admitted she did not specifically state that she was being sexually harassed to her supervisor. After she complained to her supervisor the harassment ceased until the supervisor departed. The claimant’s manager, an employer witness, was aware of the claimant’s complaint. Sexual comments were regularly made over the employer’s radio. The employer was aware obscene objects were left in the workplace, and while the employer removed the objects it made no effort to investigate. During claimant’s exit interview, the manager revealed to the claimant she was aware of the claimant’s sexual harassment complaint. When the claimant threatened to file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the manager laughed and told her to go ahead.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified from receiving benefits.

RATIONALE: The manager was aware of the claimant’s complaint to her supervisor. The claimant’s reference to the Civil Rights Commission indicates the complaint concerned sex discrimination. Since the manager responded by laughing, it was “reasonable for the claimant to assume the employer was not going to rectify the hostile work environment after adequate notice, and that repetition of the episode was likely to occur.”

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

10. Voluntary Leaving

Luke v Jemco, Inc – 10.30

Luke v Jemco, Inc
Digest no. 10.30

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Luke v Jemco, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued March 19, 1986 (Docket No. 81157).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Mary L. Luke
Employer: Jemco, Inc.
Docket no.: B80 11464 R01 84773
Date of decision: March 19, 1986

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Employees who have voluntarily left their employment for reasons of sexual harassment need not prove they sought to remedy the situation before quitting in order to avoid disqualification.

FACTS: Claimant quit after employer accused her of conspiring and fabricating with other employees. This was the culmination of a series of objectionable actions on employer’s part, primarily consisting of degrading, sexually explicit statements directed to claimant. Claimant did not complain to employer about his behavior. When it escalated to an intolerable level, she quit.

DECISION: Claimant was not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: In cases of sexual harassment, particularly where the employer personally is the source of such harassment, claimants should not bear a burden of proof beyond that of proving that the reasons for leaving constituted good cause attributable to the employer.

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

10. Voluntary Leaving

Reeves v Mike’s Famous Ham Place – 10.31

Reeves v Mike’s Famous Ham Place
Digest no. 10.31

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Reeves v Mike’s Famous Ham Place, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued July 5, 1985 (Docket No. 77532).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Sharon Sue Reeves
Employer: Mike’s Famous Ham Place
Docket no.: B83 03316 89615W
Date of decision: July 5, 1985

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: When a claimant over the course of several years leaves and then returns to the employer’s employ on a number of occasions under the exact same conditions, the claimant’s own actions evidence the fact conditions were not such that any reasonable person in the claimant’s position would feel compelled to leave.

FACTS: The claimant had worked as a waitress in the employer’s restaurant. Over the course of a number of years the claimant had left the work place only to return at a later date under the same conditions. The claimant’s final leaving was prompted by a critical assessment of her work by the employer. However, when the claimant applied for benefits she insisted that a pervasive pattern of sexual harassment had existed in the work place and provided her with a good cause for her voluntary leaving.

It should be noted that on each occasion that the claimant returned to the work place she left other gainful employment to do so.

DECISION: The claimant was disqualified for benefits under the voluntary leaving provision of the MES Act, Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: By freely choosing to return to the work place with a full understanding of the conditions present the claimant by her own behavior evidenced that the situation was not harassing and therefore not all reasonable persons in her position would have felt compelled to leave.

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