Motycka v General Motors Corp – 4.32

Motycka v General Motors Corp
Digest no. 4.32

Section 48

Cite as: Motycka v General Motors Corp, 257 Mich App 578 (2003).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Marvin Motycka, et al.
Employer: General Motors Corporation
Docket no.: MUL1999-78153-RM1-155516W
Date of decision: July 17, 2003

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The phrase “leave of absence” as used in Section 48(3) denotes an authorized temporary release from work.

FACTS: Claimants were on a ‘pre-retirement leave’ for a two-year period as articulated in their collective bargaining agreement due to their plant closing. During the ‘pre-retirement leave,’ the claimants received 85% of their wages, retained health benefits, and accrued service credit towards retirement. At the conclusion of the two-year period, the claimants were required to retire.

DECISION: The claimants were not on a leave absence and were “unemployed.”

RATIONALE: “In American Telephone Co v ESC, 376 Mich 271, 279 (1965), our Supreme Court held that the normally accepted meaning of leave of absence was a temporary authorized release from work. GM suggests that American Telephone, supra, is distinguishable from the instant case because it construes a former section of the MES Act dealing with pregnancy leaves that has since been rescinded. However, GM fails to recognize that the Supreme Court reaffirmed the concept that a leave of absence is a temporary release from work in ESC v Vulcan Forging Co, 375 Mich 374, 379 (1965).” Motycka, at 583. The Court in Vulcan,supra, further held that a “leave of absence” is an “authorized temporary release from work for other an vacation purposes.”Motycka, at 583 quoting Vulcan, supra at 379.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
11/04

Jackson v. General Motors Corp – 4.31

Jackson v. General Motors Corp
Digest no. 4.31

Sections 44, 48

Cite as: Jackson v General Motors Corp, Wayne Circuit Court, No. 01-119168-AE (July 8, 2002), lv den No. 242842 (Mich App January 13, 2003).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Willie Jackson, Jr., et al.
Employer: General Motors Corporation
Docket no.: MUL1999-57622 et al 154957
Date of decision: July 8, 2002

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where the source of a one-time payment is a strike resolution agreement, absent which there was no expectation of receiving monies for the relevant period, the payments are bonuses, not wages, and are excluded from “remuneration” under Section 48(2).

FACTS: In August 1998 employees received special payments for the lay-off period of June 28, 1998 through July 3, 1998. Employer paid the monies as part of a strike settlement and attempted to allocate the monies to that period of time. The payments were to compensate employees laid off due to interruption in the flow of parts caused by the labor dispute at the struck facilities.

DECISION: Claimants are eligible for unemployment benefits for the lay-off period.

RATIONALE: Section 44 defines “remuneration” under the MES Act. Section 48(2) has a narrower scope, and addresses how to treat “lost remuneration,” i.e. remuneration that falls outside the course of ordinary pay. Under Section 48(2), bonuses do not qualify as remuneration. The court found the one-time payments were bonuses, not wages, as the source of entitlement was the agreement resolving the strike, and absent the agreement, the claimants had no expectation of receiving monies for the relevant period.

Section 44 speaks to remuneration in general. The court conceded the payments might appear to be “back pay.” However, the court decided that the specific language of Section 44 precluded such a finding in this case.

[NOTES: Section 48(2) was amended effective April 26, 2002, and no longer includes bonuses in its exclusions to remuneration. Section 44(1) was amended effective April 26, 2002, and now includes “back pay” as remuneration.]

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
11/04

Fletcher v Atrex Corp – 4.29

Fletcher v Atrex Corp
Digest no. 4.29

Sections 48, 44

Cite as: Fletcher v Atrex Corp, Macomb Circuit Court, No. 96-7137-AE (October 22, 1997).

Appeal pending: No
Claimants: Clare Fletcher
Employer: Color Custom Compounding, Inc., d/b/a Atrex Corporation
Docket no.: FSC 95-00061-136470W
Date of decision: October 22, 1997

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where claimant spent her time performing services, though not paid for those services until after the fact, she was nonetheless employed and received remuneration.

FACTS: Claimant had a benefit year in effect in May 1992 when she began performing services for Universal Plastics. At that time, that employer was unable to offer her a paying job. Nonetheless, claimant continued to perform services until she was officially hired there August 1, 1992, at which time she informed the Agency that she was employed. After claimant was hired she was compensated retroactively for the services she performed between May and August 1992. When the Agency became aware of this a determination was issued holding claimant ineligible for the May – August period under Section 48.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible for benefits for the period May 3, 1992, through July 11, 1992, under Section 48.

RATIONALE: Remuneration is compensation for personal services and is not limited by the statute as to when it is paid – it may be paid after the service is rendered and not in the form of an hourly or weekly rate. The substantial amounts claimant received in addition to her regular wages after she was hired were, in fact, remuneration for services rendered during the period in question.

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

Koehler v General Motors Corp – 7.29

Koehler v General Motors Corp
Digest no. 7.29

Sections 28(1)(c), 48

Cite as: Koehler v General Motors Corp, Oakland Circuit Court No. 96-532329-AE (May 6, 1997).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Carl Koehler
Employer: General Motors Corporation
Docket no.: B94-10946-134361W and FSC94-00569-134392W
Date of decision: May 6, 1997

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where a claimant worked full-time for a self-owned business he was not unemployed within the meaning of Section 48 of the MES Act. Moreover, where a claimant is preoccupied with developing his own business, putting in hours equivalent to full-time work, he is not available within the meaning of Section 28(1)(c).

FACTS: The claimant was a part-owner of an irrigation company. While collecting unemployment benefits, the claimant worked for his company in excess of 40 hours per week and received distributions from profits. During this period the claimant sought other work but his efforts were infrequent and indifferent. Claimant did not receive a paycheck from this company but did pay personal expenses out of the business’ account.

DECISION: The claimant was not unemployed within the meaning of Section 48 and was not available within the meaning of Section 28(1)(c). Claimant was properly subject to the penalties for fraud.

RATIONALE: Where the claimant is not ready, willing, able and anxious to resume work in industry, his efforts should be considered startup as opposed to self-help. With respect to availability, the claimant’s indifferent job search efforts established he was not truly attached to the labor market and therefore not available within the meaning of Section 28(1)(c). Claimant’s testimony was inconsistent and self-serving and therefore unreliable. In light of his representations to the Agency that he was not employed and his failure to disclose his connection to or responsibilities with his business, the assessment of penalties and sanctions was correct.

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

Rice v International Health Care Management, Inc – 4.28

Rice v International Health Care Management, Inc
Digest no. 4.28

Section 48

Cite as: Rice v Int’l Health Care Mgt, Inc, Monroe Circuit Court, No. 95-3309-AE (December 30, 1996).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Gail Rice
Employer: International Health Care Management, Inc.
Docket no.: B93-06823-R01-128754W
Date of decision: December 30, 1996

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where claimant was given choice between a leave of absence and termination after she notified employer of her pregnancy, she did not voluntarily request the leave of absence and was, therefore, unemployed and eligible for benefits under Section 48.

FACTS: Claimant worked for employer as housekeeper, nurse aide, laundress beginning in 1986. Claimant notified employer that she was pregnant and had some medical restrictions. Claimant requested work within her restrictions or light duty work. Employer refused and offered claimant a “voluntary” leave of absence as alternative to termination. Claimant testified her leave was not voluntary, i.e. was not requested by her.

DECISION: Claimant is not ineligible for benefits under Section 48(3).

RATIONALE: Neither the Agency, the Referee, nor the Board of Review addressed the issue of voluntariness. Claimant’s unrebutted sworn testimony was that she accepted a so-called voluntary leave of absence to avoid termination. The record does not support the conclusion that the claimant voluntarily requested a leave of absence. Therefore, the conclusion that she was ineligible for benefits under 48(3) was erroneous as a matter of law.

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

Ciaramitaro v Modern Hard Chrome Service – 4.26

Ciaramitaro v Modern Hard Chrome Service
Digest no. 4.26

Section 48

Cite as: Ciaramitaro v Modern Hard Chrome Service, Macomb Circuit Court, No. 96-4644-AE (November 1, 1996).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Sam P. Ciaramitaro
Employer: Modern Hard Chrome Service
Docket no.: B91-12323RR-131804W
Date of decision: November 1, 1996

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where claimant involuntarily retired and received a week’s pay for each year he worked for employer, such pay was severance pay and was not remuneration under Section 48.

FACTS: Claimant retired involuntarily on February 2, 1990. As part of the early retirement package claimant received a 34 week “salary continuation” from February 8, 1990 through September 27, 1990. He did not apply for benefits until after those payments ended. The MESC held that the claimant received severance pay which is not remuneration and cannot be used to establish credit weeks.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible for benefits because he had insufficient credit weeks in the 52 week period preceding his application to establish a claim.

RATIONALE: Claimant failed to prove that he was legally entitled to receive a continuing weekly salary if involuntarily retired. Claimant performed no services in exchange for the monies he received.

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

Smith v Hayes Albion – 4.27

Smith v Hayes Albion
Digest no. 4.27

Section 48

Cite as: Smith v Hayes Albion, 214 Mich App 82 (1995); lv den 453 Mich 912 (1996).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Bernard Smith, et al.
Employer: Hayes Albion
Docket no.: B86-11358-111657, et al.
Date of decision: October 20, 1995

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Where collective bargaining agreement allowed employer to allocate vacation pay to plant shutdown period, vacation payments made were remuneration for the shutdown period and rendered claimants ineligible for benefits.

FACTS: Under 1985 collective bargaining agreement, seniority employees were entitled to vacation or pay in lieu of vacation as specified in Paragraph 90. Paragraph 91 provided that employer could schedule all vacation during a plant shutdown period if certain procedures were followed, such as notification to employees. Pursuant to the contract payments for accrued vacation time were made in February and June, 1986. Employer scheduled a two week shutdown from June 30, 1986, through July 11, 1986. Notices were posted indicating the earned vacation time and pay would be allocated to the shutdown period and that the allocation might render the employees ineligible for unemployment benefits.

DECISION: Claimants are ineligible for benefits under Section 48(2).

RATIONALE: Under Paragraph 90 of the collective bargaining agreement, employees had the option of receiving pay in lieu of vacation. Under Paragraph 91, the employer could allocate vacation pay to plant shutdown period. The fact these provisions appear in separate paragraphs does not mean the payment in lieu of vacation provided for in Paragraph 90 is independent of the period of unemployment (vacation shutdown) provided for in Paragraph 91. Thus the contract did not preclude the employer from designating the vacation pay to the shutdown period. As the employer maintained that discretion, the claimants’ option to take pay in lieu of vacation was extinguished when the employer exercised its Paragraph 91 authority. Therefore the payments were not “bonuses” under Brown v LTV Aerospace Corp., 394 Mich 702 (1975).

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