Charter School Administration Services v Thomas – 5.23

Charter School Administration Services v Thomas
Digest no. 5.23

Sections 27(i)(2), 53

Cite as: Charter School Admin Services v Thomas, unpublished opinion of the Oakland County Circuit Court, issued March 30, 2009 (Docket No. 08-118314-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Audrenia Thomas
Employer: Charter School Administration Services
Docket no.: 08-118314-AE
Date of decision: March 30, 2009

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HOLDING: Unless stated otherwise in Section 27(i)(9) or 27(n), the school denial provision under Section 27(i)(2) does not deny benefits to a claimant who performs services for educational institutions but is not directly employed by an educational institution.

FACTS: Employer provided administrative service to schools. Claimant worked for the Employer as a latchkey coordinator, providing non-instructional, supervision services for charter schools. At the end of the school year, Employer sent Claimant a letter of reasonable assurance to return the following school year. Claimant applied for unemployment benefits during the layoff period and returned to work the following school year.

UIA issued a redetermination that Claimant was eligible for benefits. ALJ reversed the UIA’s redetermination on the grounds that, although the Employer was not an “educational institution,” the Claimant was nevertheless subject to the school denial period under Section 27(i)(2) because she provided services for an “education institution” as part of her job. Board of Review reversed the ALJ’s decision because there was “no support that the Legislature intended all employers which provide services for an educational institution to be subject the school denial period.”  Employer appealed to the Circuit Court.

DECISION: The Circuit Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Review, finding Claimant not subject to the school denial period and eligible for benefits.

RATIONALE: Under the Employer’s interpretation of Section 27(i)(2), the application of the school denial period does not depend on whether a claimant is employed by an educational institution, but on whether the claimant’s job entails performing services for an educational institution.

This interpretation is inconsistent with the other sections of the MES Act. See, e.g., Section 42(1) (“Employment means service performed for remuneration or under any contract of hire, written or oral, express or implied”),  Section 42(5) (“[s]ervices performed by an individual for remuneration shall not be deemed to be employment subject to this act, unless the individual is under the employers control or direction as to the performance of the services both under a contract for hire and in fact”).

Furthermore, the Michigan Legislature expressly provides in Section 27(i)(9) and 27(n) that a certain class of individuals is subject to the school denial period despite not being employed by educational institutions. If Employer’s interpretation is true, Section 27(i)(9) and 27(n) would be rendered superfluous.

Here, there is no dispute that the Employer employed the Claimant as defined by Section 42(5).  Furthermore, there is no dispute that Employer is not an educational institution with the meaning of Section 53. While Claimant did perform services for an education institution, Claimant provided the services in order to fulfill the Employer’s contractual duties to the educational institution. Therefore, Claimant is not subject to the school denial period.

Digest Author:  Chris Kang
Digest Student-Editor: Nick Phillips
Digest Updated: 8/14