MESC v Falkenstern – 5.15

MESC v Falkenstern
Digest no. 5.15

Section 27(i)

Cite as: MESC v Falkenstern, No. 98730 (Mich App February 23, 1988); lv den 431 Mich 911 (1988).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ann Falkenstern, et al.
Employer: Grand Rapids Public Schools
Docket no.: B81 85301 82424
Date of decision: February 23, 1988

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: In order to impose a school denial period ineligibility upon school district employees who have been given an assurance of employment for the upcoming school year, such assurance must be reasonable in light of the information upon which it was based.

FACTS: In March, 1981 in anticipation of severely strained resources, the employer sent layoff notices to 625 low seniority staff. Afterwards the economic situation worsened, but in June, 1981 letters of reasonable assurance were sent to 266 teachers which stated without explanation “it is anticipated that you will be offered a teacher position for the 1981-82 school year.” In August, some, but not all, the claimants were sent another letter rescinding the earlier assurance of reemployment. Subsequently, the Board of Review held in favor of the claimants on the basis the employer did not have “sufficiently certain budgetary data to offer such assurance”.

DECISION: Claimants did not receive reasonable assurance and are not subject to the school denial period.

RATIONALE: “Although the term ‘reasonable assurance’ does not require a formal written or oral agreement to rehire (Riekse vGrand Rapids Public Schools, 144 Mich App 790, 792; 376 NW2d 194 [1985]), Section 27(i)(1) explicitly states that the assurance must be reasonable. To determine whether the assurance was reasonable, the MESC must necessarily consider the information upon which it was based. The MESC is not required to accept on blind faith any assurance given by a school district to one of its employees. If this were so, the school district could unilaterally render Section 27(i)(1) meaningless and frustrate the underlying purpose of the Michigan Employment Security Act.”

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