Brown v MESC – 12.13

Brown v MESC
Digest no. 12.13

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Brown v MESC, No. 85575 (Mich App December 17, 1986).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Robert Charles Brown
Employer: Ford Motor Company
Docket no.: B84 06483 97069W
Date of decision: December 17, 1986

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Leaving work early, like absence, cannot support a finding of misconduct unless the absence is without good cause. Failure to notify the employer of the need to leave early, even where the leaving is for good cause, may constitute misconduct, after similar prior infractions for which discipline has been issued. However, even where there have been similar previous incidents, the circumstances of the final incident must be examined.

FACTS: Claimant knew the employer’s procedure required him to inform a foreman that he was leaving. If that was not possible he was to inform a co-worker. Claimant left his workplace because he was suffering from diarrhea which had caused him to soil himself. Claimant was unable to locate a foreman and failed to notify a co-worker.

After arriving home claimant made one unsuccessful attempt to call the employer. He made no further attempts since his illness largely confined him to the bathroom. Claimant went to his doctor that evening and provided the employer with an excuse from the doctor upon his return to work the following day. Claimant had been disciplined 5 times previously for being absent or leaving work without permission.

DECISION: Claimant’s separation was not for misconduct. Claimant is not disqualified.

RATIONALE: “We note that absences, and by logical extension, leaving work early, cannot support a finding of misconduct unless the absence is without good cause. … We believe that plaintiff’s previous infractions militate in favor of a finding that this inaction bordered on a ‘wilful or wanton disregard for [the] employer’s interests.’ However, we do not believe that the previous infractions are dispositive given the sensitive nature of plaintiff’s circumstances on the particular day in question.”

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