Hilton v. Meijer Stores Limited – 10.93

Hilton v. Meijer Stores Limited
Digest no. 10.93

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Hilton v Meijer Stores Limited, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review, issued August 31, 2004 (Docket No. B2003-09139).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Akira Hilton
Employer: Meijer Stores Limited
Docket no.: B2003-09139-170939
Date of decision: August 31, 2004

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BOARD HOLDING: A claimant who has simultaneous employment with a part-time employer and a full-time employer, who leaves her part-time job because it conflicts with the full-time job, is disqualified under Section 29(1)(a) because her leaving was not attributable to the part-time employer.

FACTS: Claimant worked for Meijer on a part-time basis, and simultaneously worked full-time for Wallside Windows. Claimant voluntarily left her employment with Meijer because it conflicted with her full-time employment. Ten days later, Wallside Windows discharged the claimant for non-disqualifying reasons.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified from receiving benefits under Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: In Dickerson v Norrell Health Care, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Kent Circuit Court, issued September 21, 1995, (Docket No. 95-1806-AE)(Digest 10.81), the circuit court addressed what presents itself as a gross inequity: that although Claimant had been laid off from a full-time job for non-disqualifying circumstances, Claimant was nevertheless ineligible for benefits solely because Claimant had just voluntarily left an unrelated part-time job. The court’s conclusion that a claimant could not be found to have “left employment” unless her leaving resulted in total unemployment is at odds with the plain and unambiguous language of the statute. The court also ignores that the employer the claimant quit faces charges to its account and tax rate increases even though it in no way contributed to the job separation. Additionally, if such a claimant quit only one of her jobs, she could receive unemployment benefits provided she still worked at least part-time and thus was not totally unemployed. Then the former full-time employer’s account would be charged for the benefits paid, and the current part-time employer would also be charged for a portion of the benefits, even though neither employer in any way contributed to the claimant’s job separation. The Board notes that circuit court decisions are not binding precedent. Due to the potential unintended consequences of Dickerson, if a change in the statutory language is necessary, it should come from the legislature.

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

Mitchell v Wal-Mart Associates – 10.92

Mitchell v Wal-Mart Associates
Digest no. 10.92

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Mitchell v Wal-Mart Assoc, unpublished opinion of the Allegan Circuit Court, issued November 22, 2002 (Docket No. 02-31816-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Denise M. Mitchell
Employer: Wal-Mart
Docket no.: B2001-15958-RO1-162871W
Date of decision: November 22, 2002

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A claimant who voluntarily leaves part-time employment to save her full-time employment is not disqualified under Section 29(1)(a) if she is subsequently laid-off by the full-time employer.

FACTS: The claimant worked part-time for Wal-Mart, and simultaneously worked for a full-time employer. She was working more than 65 hours/week total. Claimant left her part-time employment due to conflicts with her work schedule with her full-time employer. The full-time employer unexpectedly laid her off the following day.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified pursuant to Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: “Given the conflict in work schedules between the two jobs…,Wal-Mart’s actions of staffing and continuing operations at times threatening to the claimant’s full-time job would cause a reasonable and average person to choose between the two.” Claimant reasonably chose her full-time job. The court found non-binding support from another circuit and two other states in Dickerson v Norrell Health Care, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Kent Circuit Court, issued September 21, 1995 (Docket No. 95-1806-AE); Merkel v HIP of New Jersey, 573 A2d 517 (1990); and, Gilbert v Hanlon 335 NW2d 548 (1983). In those cases, “the courts found that technical interpretations of “work” worked an injustice to the purpose and intentions of each state’s respective law by equating one’s reasonable decision to leave a part-time job with the unreasonable quest to leave employment altogether.”

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

Dickerson v Norrell Health Care, Inc – 10.81

Dickerson v Norrell Health Care, Inc
Digest no. 10.81

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Dickerson v Norrell Health Care, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Kent Circuit Court, issued September 21, 1995 (Docket No. 95-1806-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Florence Dickerson
Employer: Norrell Health Care, Inc.
Docket no.: B93-11864-127766W
Date of decision: September 21, 1995

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A claimant who had simultaneous full-time and part-time employment, who left the part-time job for disqualifying reasons, and later unexpectedly lost the full-time job for non-disqualifying reasons, is not disqualified from receiving benefits under Section 29(1)(a). This claimant can be said to have “left work” only if “quitting resulted in total unemployment, not one less job.”

FACTS: From December, 1992, to April, 1993, the claimant worked two jobs. One job was full-time for Luther Home, the other job was part-time for Norrell Health Care. The claimant quit the part-time job with Norrell Health Care due to family obligations. About a month later, she lost her full-time job. The claimant applied for benefits and was denied. Nothing about the loss of the full-time job was disqualifying. However, the claimant’s quit of her part-time job was held to disqualify her from the benefits she would otherwise have received as the result of the loss of her full-time job.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified from receiving benefits.

RATIONALE: The court relied on cases from other states which it found identical to the present case. See McCarthy v Iowa Employment Security Commission, 76 NW2d 201 (1956); Brown v Labor & Industrial Relations Commission, 577 SW2d 90 (1979); Gilbert v Hanlon 335 NW2d 548 (1983); and Merkel v HIP of New Jersey, 573 A2d 517 (1990). In those cases, the reviewing courts held that an “employee can be said to have left work only if quitting resulted in total unemployment, not one less job.” The court found this interpretation is “more reasonably in accord with the Legislature’s intent because common sense as well as the rules on construction . . . says that the Legislature intended” that result. Richards v American Fellowship Ins Co, 84 Mich App 629, 634 (1978), lv app den 406 Mich 862 (1979). The Board of Review’s interpretation “undermine[s] the core premise of the Michigan Employment Security Act without accomplishing anything other than providing an unearned windfall to employers at the expense of employees.”

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