Dexter v Winter’s Sausage – 10.14

Dexter v Winter’s Sausage
Digest no. 10.14

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Dexter v Winter’s Sausage, No. 80626 (Mich App January 16, 1986); lv granted 425 Mich 872 (1986); lv den 428 Mich 897 (1987).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Joyce A Dexter
Employer: Winter’s Sausage
Docket no.: B83 11386 92075W
Date of decision: January 16, 1986

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: “An employer’s screaming at the employee does not constitute good cause attributable to the employer for the employee to terminate the employment relationship.”

FACTS: The claimant testified that she quit her job because she could not tolerate being constantly yelled at by her foreman. Two witnesses corroborated the claimant’s allegations of constant yelling. One witness testified that claimant received more abuse than the other employees. The other witness testified that she had occasionally seen and heard the foreman yelling and cursing at claimant from across the room. The office manager testified that the foreman involved yelled at all the employees, and that his screaming was merely part of his work habits.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for voluntarily leaving her job.

RATIONALE: “In Butler v Newaygo, 115 Mich App 445, 449; 320 NW2d 401 (1982), this Court found that neither a reprimand nor “the mere fact that the claimant felt personally affronted” by his employer’s conduct constituted good cause to leave his job. In a like vein, we conclude that voluntary unemployment for “good cause” must be limited to instances where the unemployment is caused by events so compelling that reasonable men and women would conclude they constitute a valid reason for giving up employment. See Dueweke v Morang Drive Greenhouses, Inc, 411 Mich 670, 679-680; 311 NW2d 712 (1981), Anno: Unemployment Compensation: Harassment or other Mistreatment by Employer or Supervisor as “Good Cause” Justifying Abandonment of Employment, 76 ALR3d 1089 and cases cited therein. The referent is the average person, not the super-sensitive.”

“We cannot say as a matter of law that the supervisor’s conduct is so compelling that reasonable persons of average sensibilities would conclude that plaintiff had a valid reason to give up her employment. … A harmonious relationship with a supervisor helps to make an employee’s work pleasant, but the Employment Security Act was designed to address the evil of involuntary economic insecurity and not to compensate the worker who has an imperfect supervisor.”

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