Categories
18. Restitution, Waiver, Fraud

VanHusen v. Henry Ford Health System – 18.22

VanHusen v. Henry Ford Health System
Digest No. 18.22

Section 421.29(1)(b)

Cite as: VanHusen v Henry Ford Health System, unpublished opinion of the Oakland Circuit Court, issued April 11, 2012, (Docket No. 11-122549-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Georgiana VanHusen
Employer: Henry Ford Health System
Docket no.: 11-122549-AE
Date of decision: April 11, 2012

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HOLDING: The claimant’s sleeping on the job and insubordination, by themselves, given the claimant’s position as a prison guard, are enough evidence to support a finding of misconduct disqualifying the claimant from benefits.

FACTS: Claimant worked as a registered nurse in the emergency department at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Claimant was first disciplined in April 2009, when she received a written warning for unprofessional conduct and negative behavior towards patients and co-workers. Also, Claimant was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, which she successfully completed. But Claimant received another disciplinary action, including an unpaid suspension, for negative and uncompassionate behavior towards patients and family members. She was advised of the possibility of termination at that time. Then, Claimant received three more complaints filed against her in February, March, and April of 2010. As a result of the complaints filed against Claimant in February, March, and April of 2010, Henry Ford decided to terminate her employment. In lieu of a discharge, Claimant resigned on April 18, 2010. MCAC affirmed the decision of the ALJ, determining Claimant disqualified for benefits.

DECISION: The circuit court affirmed MCAC’s decision, which found Claimant to be disqualified for benefits due to misconduct under section 29(1)(b) of the MES Act and Carter v MESC, 364 Mich 538 (1961).

RATIONALE: The court considered “all of the facts and particularly the degree of responsibility the claimant owes to the employer…” See Wickey v Employment Security Comm, 369 Mich 487, 503 (1963). And under “the last straw” doctrine, misconduct may consist of a series of incidents as well as a single incident. The court concluded Claimant exhibited a recurring pattern of behavior which the employer had previously warned her about and that Claimant failed to correct her behavior despite the warnings. Claimant admitted knowing the proper rules of conduct for nurses and that those rules were important to the hospital. The court concluded Claimant’s unprofessional conduct towards patients was undoubtedly harmful the the hospital’s reputation. Therefore, Claimant’s pattern of behavior amounted to misconduct under section 29(1)(b) of the MES Act.

Digest author: Adam Kleven, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: 3/1/2016

Categories
12. Misconduct

Smith v. DoC, MESC – 12.150

Smith v. DoC, MESC
Digest No. 12.150

Section 421.29(1)(b)

Cite as: Smith v Dep’t of Corrections, unpublished opinion of the Kent Circuit Court, issued April 1, 1996 (Docket No. 95-1797-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Wayne E. Smith
Employer: Michigan Department of Corrections
Docket no.: 95-1797-AE
Date of decision: April 1, 1996

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HOLDING: The claimant’s sleeping on the job and insubordination, by themselves, given the claimant’s position as a prison guard, are enough evidence to support a finding of misconduct disqualifying the claimant from benefits.

FACTS: The claimant worked for the employer as a prison guard. The claimant had a history of disciplinary counseling under the employer’s progressive disciplinary policy. The claimant was eventually discharged based on two instances of alleged misconduct, which included sleeping on the job and an incident of insubordination of a supervisor that involved the slamming of a door. The claimant was later reinstated.

DECISION: The circuit court affirmed the Board of Review’s decisions, which found the claimant to be disqualified for benefits due to misconduct under Section 29(1)(b) of the MES Act and Carter v MESC, 364 Mich 538 (1961).

RATIONALE: Sleeping on the job does not always constitute misconduct in some employment environments. However, the circuit court stated that the claimant’s position as a prison guard charged with supervising a large number of prisoners put him in a position of “unusual responsibility.” See Bell v. Employment Security Comm 359 Mich 649 (1960) (a fireman in a boiler room was deemed to have a position of unusual responsibility and his sleeping on the job constituted disqualifying misconduct). Given the nature of the claimant’s responsibility, his sleeping on the job and insubordination by themselves constituted disqualifying misconduct. Further, the claimant did not fall under the conditional language of Section 29(1)(b) that provided an employee whose discharge was later reduced is not disqualified for benefits, as that conditional language only applied to discharges for intoxication and not general misconduct.

Digest Author: Adam Kleven, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest Updated: 1/6/2016

Categories
12. Misconduct

Countryside Care Center v Chenault – 12.23

Countryside Care Center v Chenault
Digest no. 12.23

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Countryside Care Ctr v Chenault, unpublished opinion of the Jackson Circuit Court, issued April 7, 1983 (Docket No. 83-32410 AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Marjorie A. Chenault
Employer: Countryside Care Center
Docket no.: B82 05347 84134
Date of decision: April 7, 1983

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A dissenting opinion from the Board of Review was adopted … ” … sleeping … (w)as, of itself, of a sufficiently serious nature to justify the discharge for misconduct”.

FACTS: The claimant, who worked as a nurses’ aide, was fired for sleeping while on duty. The employer operated a nursing home for the elderly. Employer previously warned the employees that they were not to sleep at work. This was a verbal directive only and was not in writing.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified under Section 29(1)(b) of the Act.

RATIONALE: The Court adopted the dissenting opinion of a Board of Review member who held:

“Despite claimant’s denial, the record established that the claimant was, in fact, sleeping, and this conduct, without regard to the fact that other employees were also sleeping, was, of itself, of a sufficiently serious nature to justify the imposition of the disqualification provided by the discharge for misconduct section of the Act.”

“Clearly, the claimant’s conduct in this case exhibited the kind of disregard of the employee’s duties and obligations to his employer which are considered misconduct under the definition of Carter v Employment Security Commission, 364 Mich 538 (1961), adopting the definition of misconduct set forth in Boynton Cab Co v Neubeck, 237 Wisc 249 (1941).”

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

Categories
12. Misconduct

Bell v MESC – 12.02

Bell v MESC
Digest no. 12.02

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Bell v MESC, 359 Mich 649 (1960).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ora H. Bell
Employer: McInerney Spring & Wire Company
Docket no.: B85 1012 20924
Date of decision: June 6, 1960

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: Misconduct connected with the work requires “a breach of those standards of conduct reasonably applicable to the industrial task assigned, rather than of those standards of ethics and morals applicable to the industrial task in general.”

FACTS: The claimant was employed as a fireman to work in the employer’s boiler room. “When the claimant was hired, it was stressed that he must be alert and must not drink on the job.” He was discharged after he was found sleeping on the job.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for misconduct connected with the work.

RATIONALE: “We may concede that no man in his right mind would ‘intend’ to fall asleep while on duty in a boiler room. But also we must hold that a man intends the normal consequences of his acts . . . Moreover, tested by the ‘standards of conduct reasonably applicable to the industrial task assigned’ claimant’s position is no better. The job for which he was hired was one of great responsibility. The results of a boiler explosion, either to him, as he dozed nearby, or to his fellow workmen, or to the plant itself, we need not describe. Judged by any criterion his act was ‘misconduct connected with his work.'”

“We find the employer has fully met the burden of proof of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the claimant was discharged for misconduct connected with his work.”

The Court relied upon Cassar v Employment Security Commission, 343 Mich 380 (1955) in reaching the decision.

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