12. Misconduct

Decess v. Central State Community Service – 12.137

Decess v. Central State Community Service
Digest No. 12.137

Section 421.29(1)(b)

Cite as: Decess v Central State Community Service, unpublished opinion of the Ingham County Circuit Court, issued December 14, 2010 (Docket No. 10-664-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Tiffany L. Decess
Employer: Central State Community Service
Date of decision: December 14, 2010

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HOLDING: The Carter v Employment Security Comm, 364 Mich 538 (1961) requirement of “carelessness or negligence of such degree or recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interests” requires more than mere negligent or inadvertent behavior.

FACTS: Claimant was employed by Central State Community Service as a direct caregiver to six developmentally disabled residents from December 6, 2006 until she was fired on November 3, 2008. She was fired for allegedly leaving a resident unattended in a running van for 3-5 minutes while she went inside the home. Claimant testified that the resident was never out of her sight.

The ALJ found Claimant disqualified for misconduct. This decision was affirmed by the Board of Review.

DECISION: The Circuit Court reversed the Board of Review decision because it was contrary to law and not supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record.

RATIONALE: There was uncontradicted Claimant testimony in the record that Claimant followed the practices that she had been trained on. The employer offered no evidence to the contrary. There was no evidence produced by the employer that could prove statutory misconduct, whether deliberate or negligent.

Following the Carter standard, the Circuit Court found that even if Claimant had been negligent, Carter requires the violation be more than negligent or inadvertent. There was no evidence in the record to support a finding that Claimant had acted with carelessness amounting to a disregard of her employer’s interests.

Finally, the Circuit Court relied on Razmus v Kirkhof Transformer, 137 Mich App 311 (1984) and Linski v Employment Security Commission, 358 Mich 239; 99 NW2d 795 (1966) to find that violating an employer’s rules is not, per se, misconduct within the meaning of the statute.

Digest author: Andrea M. Frailey, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 10/31/2017

12. Misconduct

Tuck v. ESC – 12.52

Tuck v. ESC
Digest No. 12.52

Section 421.29

Cite as: Tuck v ESC, 152 Mich App 579 (1986).

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Dave W. Tuck
Employer: Ashcraft’s Market, Inc.
Date of decision: April 24, 1986

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HOLDING: Breach of rules, negligence, or good faith error in judgment with respect to a single incident does not necessarily rise to the level of misconduct under the Carter definition. Claimant is not disqualified for misconduct because of the unauthorized removal of property, which has de minimis value, of an employer.

FACTS: Claimant, a meat-cutter, removed two cartons of fish from employer’s premises without authorization. Claimant observed the fish were thawed and could not be sold and took it upon himself to see to their disposal since the regular manager was unavailable. He removed the fish through the back door of the supermarket, which was strictly against his employer’s rule, and took it home to use as bear bait.

DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits under section 29.

RATIONALE: Pursuant to Carter, not every breach of company rules rises to the level of misconduct for purposes of section 29. The court reasoned, “[i]t is clear that, while misconduct may justify an employee’s discharge for breach of company rules, not every such breach rises to the level of misconduct sufficient to disqualify the employee for unemployment benefits.”

The court notes that the employer had full authority to fire Claimant, but that did not mean he was disqualified from receiving benefits, necessarily.

Digest author: Travis R. Miller, Michigan Law, Class of 2018 (Board of Review original Digest)
Digest updated: December 23, 2017


12. Misconduct

Christophersen v City of Menominee – 12.07

Christophersen v City of Menominee
Digest no. 12.07

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Christophersen v City of Menominee, 137 Mich App 776 (1984).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Warren Christophersen
Employer: City of Menominee
Docket no.: B82 0013 82601
Date of decision: October 1, 1984

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Misconduct under the statute can be based on a series of incidents which collectively indicate an employee’s wilful disregard of the employer’s interests even though no single incident constitutes misconduct under the statute.

FACTS: Claimant was employed for 16 years by the City of Menominee Police Department as a patrolman, sergeant, and captain. He was discharged as a result of four incidents occurring in 1981, although no single incident rose to the level of misconduct under the statute.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for misconduct discharge.

RATIONALE: The Court commented on the definition of misconduct set forth in Giddens v Employment Security Commission, 4 Mich App 526 (1966) and applied the definition therein to the factual situation in the present case.

“This Court interprets the … language of Giddens, … to mean that ‘misconduct’ is established in the series of acts under scrutiny, consideredtogether, evince a wilful disregard of the employer’s interests … To hold otherwise would allow for unemployment compensation under circumstances where an individual engages in an infinite number of work place infractions, thereby causing strife in the work place and justifying discharge. Allowing for compensation under the circumstances is at odds with the declared policy of the MESC to benefit persons unemployed through no fault of their own.”

“[T]here is sufficient, competent, and substantial evidence on the whole record to support the Referee’s decision in determining that the four incidents considered collectively constituted ‘misconduct’ under the statute.”

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