Washington v Amway Grand Plaza – 12.10

Washington v Amway Grand Plaza
Digest no. 12.10

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Washington v Amway Grand Plaza, 135 Mich App 652 (1984).

Appeal pending: No
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals
Date of decision: May 21, 1984

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: “As a matter of law, absences or tardiness resulting from events beyond the employee’s control or which are otherwise with good cause cannot be considered conduct in wilful or wanton disregard of the employer’s interests.”

FACTS: The claimant was fired from her job for being late or absent on several occasions … In the nine months of claimant’s employment, she received five warnings regarding lateness or absenteeism, including three “final” warnings on May 5, May 16, and June 7, 1982. Other warnings were issued on December 21, 1981, and May 15, 1982. Tardiness and absenteeism were also brought to claimant’s attention in an employee evaluation in April, 1982. Dale Hamilton, assistant chief steward for Amway, testified that the reasons claimant offered for lateness were an inadequate alarm clock, marital problems and that she overslept. Claimant testified that many times the weather was the reason she could not get to work.

DECISION: “The case is remanded to the Board of Review to determine whether statutory misconduct was present after considering claimant’s explanation and excuses.”

RATIONALE: “The Referee and the Board did not consider claimant’s explanations and excuses for her absences and tardiness. It appears that the Referee and Board took the position that since claimant was discharged for violation of Amway’s rules and regulations concerning attendance, she was necessarily disqualified under the statute.

“The case is remanded to the Board of Review to determine whether statutory misconduct was present … In making this determination, the Board should specifically consider claimant’s explanations and excuses for her absences and tardiness which resulted in the discharge. Statutory misconduct cannot be made out … if the Board factually determines that the absences and tardiness which resulted in the discharge were with good cause or for reasons otherwise beyond claimant’s control. On remand, the burden of proving misconduct remains on the employer.”

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