Setta v Chrysler Corp – 10.13

Setta v Chrysler Corp
Digest no. 10.13

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Setta v Chrysler Corp, No. 301-977, Wayne Circuit Court (September 3, 1959).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Richard Setta
Employer: Chrysler Corporation
Docket no.: B58 6122 22034
Date of decision: September 3, 1959

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A claimant who makes a good faith attempt at earning a living but is unable to earn a living wage is not disqualified for benefits pursuant to Section 29(1)(a) when he quits.

FACTS: Claimant was laid off from Chrysler for lack of work. He later obtained work as a salesman for the Brown Company. Claimant began his sales job with a salary and commission. After 6 weeks he went to straight commission. After he shifted to commission, the claimant’s income dropped so low he could not earn a living wage. The drop of wages was not the result of any lack of effort on the claimant’s part.

DECISION: Claimant not disqualified pursuant to Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: “The 2nd and 29th sections of the Michigan Statute when taken together, suggest that the test intended by the voluntary quit provision of Section 29 is this: Was the employee driven to leave by external pressures rather than subjective conveniences or desires. If the external pressure is great enough to make it perfectly reasonable to quit, then Section 29 of the statute does not seem to me to impose any disqualification. When one earns only $21.00 a month with nothing better in prospect, the alternatives are simple; either to starve or to quit. Under such circumstances, is there really any choice? And, when one is compelled to take the only available course, can he be said to have voluntarily done anything? Where, as in the Setta case, the pressure stems from lack of earnings sufficient to provide one’s family with the barest necessities, and with nothing better in prospect, it seems to me that there is external pressure great enough to make quitting a perfectly reasonable, indeed, an inescapable, act. Under these circumstance, either there is not a voluntary leaving of work or there is good cause for voluntarily quitting which is attributable to the employer.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 6/91