UIA v Dykstra – 19.09

UIA v Dykstra
Digest no. 19.09

Cite as: Dep’t of Labor & Econ Growth, Unemployment Ins Agency v Dykstra, 283 Mich App 212 (2009).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Tracey Dykstra
Employer: N/A
Docket no.: 05-011956-AE
Date of decision: April 07, 2009

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HOLDING: The statutory time limit set forth in Section 2291(a)(5)(A)(ii) does not apply to submission of the form requesting waiver of the TRA training requirement under Section 2291(a)(5)(A)(i).

FACTS: Claimant lost her job due to the closure of her facility caused by foreign competition. In order to receive TRA benefits, Claimant filled out and timely submitted all the forms about which she had been informed and of which she had been provided blank copies from a Michigan Works! agent. Despite doing all she had been told to do, Claimant heard nothing back from UIA. Claimant was later informed of the need to fill out Form 802 by former co-workers, after learning this she immediately filled out the proper paperwork. This form was a request for waiver of the TRA training requirement.

Unfortunately for Claimant, the deadline for applying for TRA benefits had lapsed by the time she submitted form 802, and the UIA subsequently denied her benefits. Claimant appealed and was given a positive ruling from an Administrative Law Judge, who found that the agency error of Michigan Works! employees, who had the duty of informing her about the proper forms to file, was good cause for her failure to timely file her 802 form. This was later sustained by the Board of Review.

On request of the U.S. Dep’t of Labor, the UIA appealed the Board of Review’s decision arguing that the pertinent TRA provisions do not allow for a “good cause exception to late filings.” The Circuit Court held that Claimant was not disqualified from TRA benefits, as the doctrine of estoppel should be applied to this case, the Supreme Court had not set an absolute bar to the use of estoppel against government agencies, and equity requires that it should be permitted in this instance. The Michigan Court of Appeals initially denied the UIA’s request to appeal for lack of merit, but the Michigan Supreme Court in turn remanded the case back to the Court of Appeals for consideration as on leave granted, and it was subsequently consolidated with another claim.

DECISION: The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court.

RATIONALE: Rather than relying on the estoppel rationale of the Circuit Court, the Court of Appeals held that while executive departments may require deference regarding the interpretation of a federal law when the law is ambiguous, there is no such deference required when the law is clear on its face. Here, through statutory interpretation, the Court of Appeals found that the strict deadline provisions were only intended to apply to the provisions under Section 2291(a)(5)(A)(ii), the retraining section, and not to (a)(5)(A)(i), which is the retraining waiver section. Accordingly, the Department of Labor determination did not require deference, and the strict deadline did not apply to Claimant.

Digest Author: A. Kaled
Digest Updated:
 8/14

UIA v Ishmael – 19.10

UIA v. Ishmael
Digest no. 19.10

Cite as: UIA v Ishmael, Ct. of App. LC No. 06-616961-AE (Mich 2007).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Alexandria Ishmael
Employer: Lear Corporation, TRA/SPU Unit
Docket no.: TRA-2005-00070-182435, (consolidated w/276869)
Date of decision: January 16, 2007

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HOLDING: The “8/16 Rule” found in 19 USC § 2291(a)(5)(A)(ii)(I)-(II) does not apply to training waivers which derive from § 2291(a)(5)(C).

FACTS: Claimant Alexandria Ishmael worked for Employer Lear Corporation. On June 1, 2004, claimant went on a medical leave of absence. Later that month Employer announced the closing of the claimant’s work facility. Following this announcement, the U.S. Department of Labor registered the loss of jobs as falling under the requisite for TRA benefits. During the summer of 2004 Claimant repeatedly attempted to apply for TRA benefits at a Michigan Works! office but was denied, and Claimant was informed by Michigan Works! agents that she would not be qualified to apply until she was released by her physician from her medical leave. Claimant was eventually laid off on October 31, 2004.

On April 5, 2005, claimant was cleared for work by her physician and subsequently filed for TRA training waiver with a Michigan Works! employee. On May 23, 2005, the Unemployment Insurance Agency issued a denial of TRA benefits to Claimant because of her failure to fall within the TRA’s “8/16 requirement.” This requirement imposes a time restriction on the latest date a person seeking to be eligible for TRA benefits must enroll in training, and UIA found that Claimant did not enroll in this time window of eligibility. Claimant protested the Agency’s determination, was denied again on redetermination, then subsequently sought a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. The ALJ found for Claimant, reversing the Agency’s earlier determinations. On appeal, the Agency sought to reverse ALJ’s decision and find that the 8/16 Rule applies to Claimant’s case.

DECISION: The Circuit Court affirms the decision of the Board of Review finding Claimant’s application for waiver to be timely and Claimant is eligible for TRA benefits.

RATIONALE: The Circuit Court held that the “8/16 Rule” does not apply to TRA training waivers. Because the Trade Act is a remedial statute subject to a liberal construction and interpretation, the 8/16 Rule, derived from a disjunctive statute, 19 USC § 2291(a)(5)(A), does not apply to training waivers derived from § 2291(a)(5)(C).

See also UIA v. Dishman – Digest no. 19.08.

Digest Author: A. Kaled
Digest Editor: Jack Battaglia
Digest Updated:
8/14

UIA v Dishman – 19.08

UIA v Dishman
Digest no. 19.08

Cite as: UIA v Dishman, Unpublished Opinion of the St. Clair County Circuit Court, Issued March 21, 2006 (Docket No. K-05-229-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Carolyn Dishman
Employer: TI Automotive Group
Docket no.: 05-002295-AE
Date of decision: March 21, 2006

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HOLDING: Board of Review’s finding on rehearing that Claimant was eligible for TRA unemployment benefits under 19 USC § 2291(a)(5)(C) because she obtained a waiver after the date on which Claimant separated from Employer was not contrary to law, and was supported by substantial and material evidence on the record.

FACTS: Claimant’s employment with TI Automotive Group ended on April 29, 2004. Consequently, Claimant later sought TRA benefits. While pursuing TRA benefits, Claimant received a “Waiver of TAA Training Requirement” on November 5, 2004. The Board of Review found that Claimant was entitled to TRA payments under 19 USC § 2291(a)(5)(C).

The appellant argues that Claimant should be denied payments because of her failure to obtain a waiver within the time limits described in 19 USC § 2291(a)(5)(A)(ii)(I)-(IV). Appellant bases argument exclusively on the U.S. Department of Labor letter, “Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 11-02,”(TEGL) which gives an agency interpretation of 19 USC § 2291(a)(5)(A).

DECISION: The court affirmed the Board of Review’s finding that Claimant is entitled to TRA payments because she obtained a waiver after the date on which claimant separated from employer, 19 USC § 2291(a)(5)(C).

RATIONALE: The Court rejected the Agency’s argument. First, the Agency’s argument rested on the argument that the Department of Labor letter applied to Claimant’s particular case. The court rejected this as an interpretation which ignored the fact that the letter only interpreted subsection (5)(A) and not subsection (5)(C), for which the claimant based their request for waiver. Second, the court, assuming that the Department of Labor letter did apply, still would not change the court’s decision to affirm the Board of Review’s ruling, since the Appellant raised no grounds from which the letter should be given any special deference. See e.g. Chevron v Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc, 467 US 837 (1984). Further, the court found that the letter’s intent was contrary to that of Congress when it initially implemented the TRA legislation, asTRA legislation subsections (5)(A)-(C) create three options from which a worker is eligible for TRA benefits, and Claimant’s failure to obtain a waiver within the time limits set forth in the statute does not foreclose her ability to receive benefits under another option.

Digest Author: A. Kaled
Digest Updated: 7.27.11

Brown v Johnson Controls Battery – 19.15

Brown v Johnson Controls Battery
Digest No. 19.15

Trade Act of 1974 (19 USC 2319(2))

Cite as: Brown v Johnson Controls Battery, unpublished opinion of the Shiawassee County Circuit Court, issued May 21, 1998 (Docket No. 97-1252-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Darlton Brown
Employer: Johnson Controls Battery
Date of decision: May 21, 1998

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HOLDING: A claimant who was promised an opportunity to return to work after being terminated without cause constitutes an “adversely affected worker” under 19 USC 2319(2), even if the claimant’s employer goes out of business prior to the claimant’s return to work.

FACTS: Claimant was terminated by Johnson Controls on August 2, 1994 for alleged misconduct. Claimant filed two grievances against his termination. Claimant and Johnson Controls reached a grievance settlement that stipulated that Claimant was fired without cause. The settlement agreement enabled Claimant to return to work for Johnson Controls in mid-December, but Claimant was unable to return to work because the Johnson Controls’ plant closed.

Claimant filed for Trade Readjustment Assistance benefits under the Trade Act of 1974. A referee denied the requested benefits on November 1, 1995. The MESC Board of Review affirmed the referee’s denial. Claimant appealed the Board’s decision to Shiawassee County Circuit Court.

DECISION: The Court overturned the Board’s decision and remanded to determine if Claimant meets the other eligibility requirements for Trade Readjustment Assistance benefits.

RATIONALE: To qualify for Trade Readjustment Assistance benefits, a claimant must qualify as an “adversely affected worker.” Pursuant to 19 USC 2319(2), an “adversely affected worker” is defined as an “individual who, because of lack of work in adversely affected employment, has been totally or partially separated from such employment.”

The referee and Board found that Claimant was not an adversely affected worker because he was not separated for lack of work but instead, for alleged misconduct. Since Claimant never actually resumed work after his settlement, they argued the settlement never altered his original date of separation, or reason for separation.

The Court rejected this argument and found Claimant to be an “adversely affected worker” per  19 USC 2319(2). The settlement constituted a concession by Johnson Controls that the separation was not for just cause. Since Claimant did not merit discharge, Claimant should be treated as if the discharge never occurred. His separation should be considered to have occurred on the date that would have been his last day of work if the plant had not closed. Therefore, Claimant was an adversely affected worker since his separation was due to a lack of work.

Digest author: Sean Higgins, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 13, 2017

Valot v Southeast Local School District Board of Education – 19.07

Valot v Southeast Local School District Board of Education
Digest no. 19.07

Cite as: Valot v Southeast Local School Dist Board of Ed, 107 F3d 1220 (6th Cir 1997).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Sally Ann Valot
Employer: Southeast Local School District (Ohio) Board of Education
Docket no.: N/A
Date of decision: March 6, 1997

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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS, SIXTH CIRCUIT HOLDING: School board did not violate drivers’ substantive due process or equal protection rights by refusing to rehire them.

FACTS: Plaintiffs were substitute bus drivers with nine month contracts with a school district in Ohio. They applied for and were paid unemployment compensation. As the employer did not have a practice of providing “reasonable assurance” to such employees, they were not ineligible for benefits by means of the Ohio school denial period provision. In the fall, the employer refused to rehire drivers who had collected benefits. Plaintiff drivers argued their constitutional rights were violated in that seeking and obtaining unemployment benefits is protected by the constitutional right of access and the right to petition for redress of a grievance.

DECISION: Affirmed dismissal of all federal claims.

RATIONALE: Employer’s interest in promoting efficiency of public service and protecting public funds is legitimate and outweighs claimants’ interest in seeking unemployment compensation. Employer’s action was related to legitimate state interest. No substantive due process rights violated. Nor was there a violation of equal protection. Employer’s decision not to rehire claimants was rationally related to a legitimate state interest.

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

UAW v Dole – 19.02

UAW v Dole
Digest no. 19.02

Cite as: UAW v Dole, No. 89-1922 (6th Cir August 21, 1990).

Appeal pending: No
Plaintiffs: International Union U.A.W., et al.
Defendants: Elizabeth H. Dole, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
Docket no.: N/A
Date of decision: August 21, 1990

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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS, SIXTH CIRCUIT HOLDING: Application of Michigan’s “waiver for good cause” rule is not inconsistent with the 210 day filing deadline contained in the Trade Act of 1974 related to training benefits.

FACTS: In addition to providing basic “TRA” benefits, the Trade Act of 1974 permits an additional 26 weeks of benefits to assist affected workers complete approved training. Workers must file a bona fide application for training within 210 days after the date of the worker’s separation. Due to internal MESC practices these claimants were not instructed to file until just prior to exhaustion of their state unemployment benefits, which was often beyond the 210 day limit. The MESC sought approval from the U.S. Department of Labor to apply Michigan’s “waiver for good cause” rule (MESC Rule 210). That request was denied.

DECISION: Remanded for further proceedings by the District Court, Secretary of Labor and MESC. Michigan’s waiver for good cause rule may be applied to claimants denied additional weeks of TRA benefits after January 1, 1988 due to operation of the 210 day rule if the MESC’s determination of good cause includes findings of genuine interest in training and the absence of dilatory conduct on the part of the certified worker.

RATIONALE: “Despite the Secretary’s admission that the rule was designed to facilitate workers’ access to additional TRA benefits, she nevertheless argues that because neither the statute nor the parallel regulation provide for any waiver, workers who fail to comply with the 210-day rule are absolutely barred from obtaining additional benefits. Since the Act is silent on the issue of waiver, however, and may, therefore, leave room for more than one interpretation, it should be construed in such a way as to give effect to the general intent of the legislature….

When a cooperating state agency determines that no dilatory conduct has occurred, however, and, instead, concludes that application of the 210-day rule does nothing to further the Act’s remedial purpose and everything to frustrate it, we are hard-pressed to conclude that the Secretary’s interpretation is consistent with Congress’ intent.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 12/91

Employment Division, Oregon Department of Human Resources v Smith – 19.06

Employment Division, Oregon Department of Human Resources v Smith
Digest no. 19.06

Cite as: Employment Div, Oregon Dep’t of Human Resources v Smith, 110 S Ct 1595 (1990).

Appeal pending:
No
Claimant: Alfred Smith and Galen Black
Employer: N/A
Docket no.: S.Ct. 88-1213
Date of decision: April 17, 1990

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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT HOLDING: Claimants discharged for using illegal drugs as part of a religious sacrament may be disqualified from receipt of unemployment compensation benefits without violation of First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion.

FACTS: Claimant’s were discharged from their jobs at a private drug rehabilitation organization because they ingested peyote for sacramental purposes at a ceremony of the Native American Church of which both are members. They were determined to be disqualified for benefits because their discharge was for work related misconduct.

DECISION: Claimants are disqualified for unemployment compensation benefits when their discharge results from the use of illegal drugs even though the drug is part of a religious sacrament.

RATIONALE: If a State has prohibited through its criminal laws certain kinds of religiously motivated conduct without violating the First Amendment it follows that the State may impose the lesser burden of denying unemployment compensation benefits to persons who engage in that conduct. The right of free exercise of religion does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 12/91