McArthur v Borman’s – 10.79

McArthur v Borman’s
Digest no. 10.79

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: McArthur v Borman’s, 200 Mich App 686 (1993).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Robin McArthur
Employer: Borman’s Inc.
Docket no.: B88-04285-108675W
Date of decision: July 19, 1993

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Where employer, pursuant to plan authorized by collective bargaining agreement, gave claimant option of accepting a buyout accompanied by monetary incentives or remaining on the job and facing a permanent reduction to part-time work two years hence, she had reasonable alternatives from which to choose and her decision to leave was voluntary and for personal reasons.

FACTS: Under a 1987 collective bargaining agreement, employer could reduce up to 50% of its full-time work force to part-time in August, 1989. Claimant did not have enough seniority to maintain her full-time position after August, 1989. Claimant accepted buyout of $16,000 in exchange for resigning prior to December 31, 1987.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified under Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: “The state has a substantial interest in reserving unemployment benefits for those who became unemployed `due to forces beyond their control.’ `Voluntary’ connotes a choice between alternatives that ordinary persons would find reasonable. Unemployment benefits are not designed to protect those who receive large cash settlements following voluntary separations, but to assist those who become unemployed through no fault of their own.” (citations omitted) Claimant’s decision to accept buyout was voluntary because she could have continued to work full-time for two more years and earned more in that time than the value of the buyout. There was no immediate threat of reduction in hours. Claimant was offered a significant monetary incentive to leave her job. Therefore, her reasons for leaving were personal and not for good cause attributable to the employer.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 
7/99