Bowns v City of Port Huron – 12.12

Bowns v City of Port Huron
Digest no. 12.12

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Bowns v City of Port Huron, 146 Mich App 69 (1985); lv den 424 Mich 899 (1986).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: John Bowns
Employer: City of Port Huron
Docket no.: B82 09389 RO1 84805W
Date of decision: October 7, 1985

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: A police officer’s off-duty conduct is sufficiently connected with his employment to justify denial of unemployment benefits.

FACTS: Claimant, a police officer/supervisor, was observed in a bar playing poker and conversing with a known “number’s man” and another person known to be a supplier of football game cards. The bar was being investigated by the Michigan State Police for sports betting, bookmaking and high stakes poker games. Claimant’s attendance at the bar was during his off-duty hours when he was not in uniform, nor carrying his weapon. The employer charged claimant with dereliction of duty for not reporting the activities at the bar.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for misconduct.

RATIONALE: Relying on Core v Traverse City, 89 Mich App 492 (1979), the court stated that illegal or improper conduct by employees in positions of public trust may undermine their ability to function in an official capacity and damage the prestige of the public employer. The court also adoptedCerceo v Darby, 3 PA Comm 174, 183 281 A2d 251, 255 (1971): ” … We demand from our law enforcement officers, and properly so, adherence to demanding standards which are higher than those applied to many other professions … in both an officer’s private and official lives … ”

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