Hart v Lansing Community College – 5.06

Hart v Lansing Community College
Digest no. 5.06

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Hart v Lansing Community College, unpublished opinion of the Ingham Circuit Court issued July 29, 1983(Docket No. 82-30514-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Bennett W. Hart
Employer: Lansing Community College
Docket no.: B81 00288 76742
Date of decision: July 29, 1983

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: The course of dealing between the parties reflects a mutual understanding that no guarantee of future employment could be made.

FACTS: Claimant was a part time instructor who had worked ten consecutive terms before his courses were cancelled for lack of enrollment. Claimant, as other part time faculty, receives his contract at the commencement of the term when the college is able to determine whether all classes planned for Claimant are going to “go.”

DECISION: Claimant is not eligible for unemployment benefits.

RATIONALE: The Court cited the legislative history on the meaning of the term “reasonable assurance,” as found in US CONG. AND ADMIN. NEWS, 94th Congress, 1976, Vol. 5 at 6036: “For purposes of this provision, the term ‘reasonable assurance’ means a written, verbal or implied agreement that the employee will perform services in the same capacity during the ensuing academic year or term. A contract is intended to include tenure status.” (Emphasis added)

The term “reasonable assurance” must mean something less than a “contract,” if the phrase is to have any legal significance. In this case, the course of dealing between the parties reflects a mutual understanding that no guarantee of future employment could be made. Reasonable assurance of employment is given in that, if a sufficient number of students registered for classes, Appellant would be employed. This is evidenced by publication of Appellant’s name in the schedule book coupled with the consistency of his employment with the college. The Court cited Larkin v Bay City Schools, 89 Mich App 199 (1979) for the legislative policy and Michigan State Employees Association v MESC, 94 Mich App 677 (1980).

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