Pinecrest Custom Homes v Meines – 16.70

Pinecrest Custom Homes v Meines
Digest no. 16.70

Section 32a

Cite as: Pinecrest Custom Homes v Meines, unpublished opinion of the Kent Circuit Court, issued October 8, 2002 (Docket No. 02-03823-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Janis Meines
Employer: Pinecrest Custom Homes
Docket no.: B2001-14696-RM1-161795
Date of decision: October 8, 2002

View/download the full document

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Detrimental reliance on incorrect advice from a representative of the Agency constitutes “good cause” for filing a late protest.

FACTS: Claimant quit her job due to abusive conduct by the husband of the owner. Claimant filed for benefits. A determination held her disqualified for benefits under Section 29(1)(a). Claimant telephoned the claims examiner who issued the determination to ask what would be required to reverse the determination. Claimant testified the claims examiner told her (incorrectly) she would have to “prove with medical records or police reports that she had been ‘physically injured.’” Claimant did not file a timely protest of the determination because she did not have such evidence. A few weeks later, claimant met the person who had replaced her. That person also quit due to abusive conduct from employer’s husband and was seeking benefits. She told claimant other employees had quit for the same reason and had received benefits. Claimant then filed an untimely protest.

DECISION: The claimant established good cause for her late protest.

RATIONALE: “What justifies considering the late filing of a new, additional or reopened claim seems intuitively to justify considering the late protest of the initial determination of a claim.” That definition of “good cause” is “a justifiable reason, determined in accordance with the standard of conduct expected of an individual acting as a reasonable person in light of all the circumstances, that prevented a timely filing or reporting to file….” The statement of a “representative of the Unemployment Agency that a protest could succeed only with evidence that one does not have compels the conclusion that there is no point to a protest; reasonable people do not do the futile. [I]t is not reasonable to expect lay-people to ignore whom the government holds out to be an expert.” Claimant “had good cause for not protesting until she learned that she had been misled.”

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

Pool v R S Leasing, Inc – 16.69

Pool v R S Leasing, Inc
Digest no. 16.69

Section 32a

Cite as: Pool v R S Leasing, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Wayne Circuit Court, issued May 3, 2002, (Docket No. 01-138871-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Brinda J. Pool
Employer: R. S. Leasing, Inc.
Docket no.: B2001-08251-159781W
Date of decision: May 3, 2002

View/download the full decision

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where claimant’s late protest was attributable to her parents’ medical problems, good cause for reconsideration was established.

FACTS: On January 2, 2001 claimant received a determination holding her disqualified. The Agency received claimant’s protest on March 12, 2001. The Agency requested an explanation for the untimely protest. Claimant disclosed that she had been out of town because her parents were ill. The Agency denied her request for redetermination. Claimant testified that after she received the determination, she left town to care for her parents, both seriously ill. She thought she would return before the 30-day appeal period expired, but did not return until February 28, 2001. She mailed her protest after the 30-day appeal period expired. She did not mail the protest before leaving town because her main concern was her parents’ health. The Board found she failed to show good cause for her late protest.

DECISION: The claimant demonstrated good cause for her late appeal of the Agency’s determination.

RATIONALE: The plain language of Rule 270(1) provides that the “Rule’s [specific] list of grounds for finding good cause is not exclusive,” and Rule 210(2)(e)(v) provides that “[g]ood cause for late filing of a new, additional, or reopened claim” includes “[p]ersonal physical incapacity or the physical incapacity or death of a relative . . ..” Reading the two Rules together leads to the conclusion good cause was established.

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

Simpson v MBS Commerical Printers, Inc – 10.97

Simpson v MBS Commerical Printers, Inc
Digest no. 10.97

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Simpson v MBS Commercial Printers, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Bay Circuit Court, issued August 25, 2000 (Docket No. 99-3129-AE-B).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Darren H. Simpson
Employer: MBS Commercial Printers, Inc.
Docket no.: B98-00846-148280W
Date of decision: August 25, 2000

View/download the full decision

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A death threat made by employer, coupled with past abuse from the employer, and the employee’s reasonable belief that employer was capable of acting on the threat, constitutes good cause attributable to the employer for voluntary leaving.

FACTS: On the claimant’s last day, he had an argument with the owner, which the owner initiated. Claimant testified the owner threatened to kill him, which the employer denied. The ALJ failed to make a credibility finding. Claimant had difficulty with the owner in the past – physical and verbal abuse by the owner, and a physical assault by the owner’s brother. The owner owned guns; claimant believed he would carry out the death threat and later filed a police report. The claimant worked the balance of his shift before leaving.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified from receiving benefits.

RATIONALE: Claimant finished his shift on Friday, and notified employer that he quit the following Monday. Instead of provoking employer in an environment employer controlled, claimant opted to notify employer of his leaving at a later time, allowing for a period of “cooling down.” Claimant chose the prudent course, which in no way diminishes the seriousness of employer’s threat. Good cause exists where the circumstances which prompted the claimant’s departure would have caused an average, reasonable, and otherwise qualified worker to leave. Carswell v Share House, Inc, 151 Mich App 392 (1986). The employer made a death threat. Employees should not have to labor under the threat of murder.

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

Kirby Grill Management, Inc v MESC – 2.21

Kirby Grill Management, Inc v MESC
Digest no. 2.21

Section 32a

Cite as: Kirby Grill Mgt, Inc v MESC, unpublished per curiam Court of Appeals, issued July 28, 1995 (Docket No. 166288).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: N/A
Employer: Kirby Grill Management, Inc.
Docket no.: L91-00461-2192
Date of decision: July 28, 1995

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Good cause for late protest of a determination of successorship may be found where the employer submitted a revised registration report containing additional or corrected information regarding the percentage of assets acquired.

FACTS: In May, 1990 employer submitted a Liability Registration Report in which it indicated it had acquired 100% of predecessor Kings Manor. Employer was mailed a Notice of Successorship on June 22, 1990, which indicated that employer had purchased more than 75% of the assets of its predecessor. This was not protested until September, 1990. Request for redetermination denied on October 5, 1990, because employer failed to protest within thirty days or establish good cause for late protest. Employer submitted revised registration report showing it only acquired 15% of Kings Manor instead of the 100% in the original registration. Employer’s position is that submission of revised registration report meets good cause standard set forth in Unemployment Agency Administrative Rule 270(1)(b).

DECISION: Reversed and remanded for determination of whether good cause exists for reconsideration under Rule 270(1)(b).

RATIONALE: Under the statute, the Agency is authorized to redetermine a prior successorship determination for any “good cause” shown. The focus of a good cause inquiry is not limited to whether the employer could show good cause for not filing its protest within thirty days. Limiting the Agency’s discretion to deciding if there is good cause for untimely filing is overly technical and bureaucratic especially as Rule 270 expressly indicates good cause can be established on the basis of “additional or corrected information.” “That is, the additional or corrected information can provide the necessary good cause to reconsider the successorship determination and, hence, the all-important rate determination.”

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

MESC v Bennett Fuel Co – 2.15

MESC v Bennett Fuel Co
Digest no. 2.15

Section 18(d)(2)

Cite as: MESC v Bennett Fuel Co, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued May 30, 1995 (Docket No. 160028).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: N/A
Employer: Bennett Fuel Company
Docket no.: L85-02360-RM1-2068
Date of decision: May 30, 1995

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Good cause for late protest of contribution rate established by showing that delay in filing an appeal was due to the misconduct of employer’s bookkeeper.

FACTS: In 1984 MESC raised employer’s contribution rate from 1% to 10% because of a missing quarterly report for the 2nd quarter of 1983. Notice of the increased tax rate was mailed on April 10, 1984. Employer did not protest within 30 days. Failure to observe time limit to protest of contribution rate was due to dereliction of duty on the part of employer’s bookkeeper–he had secreted a number of employer’s business documents in his car, destroyed others. When the misconduct was discovered, employer fired the bookkeeper, filed the missing quarterly report and requested redetermination of its contribution rate.

DECISION: Employer is entitled to present evidence on merits of its case for redetermination of the contribution rate.

RATIONALE: Unemployment Agency Administrative Rule 270 provides that “good cause” is defined to include situations where “an interested party has newly discovered material facts which through no fault of its own were not available at the time of the determination.” Gross misconduct of employer’s bookkeeper prevented employer from filing a timely appeal of the 10% contribution rate. This amounted to “good cause” for the delay.

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

Munley v Child Care Plus, Inc – 10.75

Munley v Child Care Plus, Inc
Digest no. 10.75

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Munley v Child Care Plus, Inc, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued March 30, 1994 (Docket No. 150603).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Mary Anne Munley
Employer: Child Care Plus, Inc.
Docket no.: B89-07785-112696
Date of decision: March 30, 1994

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: If the underlying reason for a resignation is fully resolved by the employer before the effective date of resignation, there is no good cause for leaving.

FACTS: On February 9, 1989 the employer’s manager advised the claimant that effective Monday, February 13, 1989 her work hours would be reduced to 4.5 hours a day — a reduction in excess of 40%. At that time, the claimant verbally advised the employer she would have to resign her employment to pursue full-time work. Her manager responded “okay.” On Friday, February 10, 1989 the claimant submitted a written notice of resignation with an effective date of February 24, 1989. On Wednesday, February 15, 1989 the employer reconsidered and decided the claimant could continue as a full-time teacher through June 9, 1989. When notified, the claimant indicated it was still her intention to leave, and she did so on February 24, 1989.

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

RATIONALE: The question to be resolved was whether the claimant’s leaving was with good cause attributable to the employer. The Court of Appeals found it was not. The Court of Appeals found the employer’s actions would not have caused an otherwise qualified worker to give up her employment until June 9, 1989. While not expressly stated in the decision, it appears the court concluded that if the reason for a resignation is fully addressed before the effective date of resignation there is no good cause for leaving. In the underlying Board of Review decision, the Board found the good cause had been “extinguished” by the employer’s change of position.

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

Johnston v Smith – 10.69

Johnston v Smith
Digest no. 10.69

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Johnston v Smith, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued May 26, 1993 (Docket No. 139979).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Henry Smith
Employer: George L. Johnston
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals
Date of decision: May 26, 1993

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Claimant is not disqualified and quit work involuntarily when he resigned in response to the employer’s request for his resignation.

FACTS: Employer accused the claimant of theft after observing items used in the employer’s business in the claimant’s vehicle. Claimant denied the accusation and had a witness to corroborate his story. Employer did not believe the claimant, and asked him to resign. The claimant refused, and asked the employer to discharge him. The employer did not discharge the claimant because it lacked proof the claimant committed theft. Claimant failed to report for his next scheduled shift, and applied for benefits four days later. The Referee concluded the employer’s suggestion that he resign constituted good cause attributable to the employer.

DECISION: The Court of Appeals affirmed the holdings of the lower tribunals and found the claimant not disqualified for benefits under Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: “Voluntary connotes a choice between alternatives which ordinary persons would find reasonable.” Clarke v. North Detroit Hospital, 179 Mich App 511, 515-516 (1989) (MiUI Digest 10.48) Claimant did not quit work voluntarily when employer asked claimant to resign. The employers actions, “in the absence of proof of misconduct, would have induced an average, reasonable, and otherwise qualified worker to leave [petitioner’s] employment.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
 2/18

Gebhardt v Lapeer Community Schools – 10.88

Gebhardt v Lapeer Community Schools
Digest no. 10.88

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Gebhardt v Lapeer Community Schools, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued September 17, 1992 (Docket No. 132176).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Barbara J. Gebhardt
Employer: Lapeer Community Schools
Docket no.: B87-12530-110516W
Date of decision: September 17, 1992

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: 1) An employer’s decision to discipline based on a legitimate policy or procedure does not constitute good cause for leaving. 2) A school system’s request that a school board dismiss a tenured teacher does not constitute constructive discharge.

FACTS: The claimant was a tenured school teacher. She was charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct. This prompted the employer to suspend the claimant with pay. When the claimant was convicted the employer requested that the Board of Education dismiss the claimant. Pursuant to the employer’s request, a hearing was noticed. The hearing resulted in a negotiated settlement whereby the claimant would resign her position, the employer would withdraw the tenure charges and the claimant would receive a cash settlement. The claimant asserted her leaving was a constructive discharge. (Note: after her separation, but prior to the Referee hearing, claimant’s conviction was set aside.)

DECISION: The claimant was disqualified under Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: Referral to the school board was a procedure designed to protect the claimant, not injure her. Consequently, the hearing could not be characterized as a working condition that would force a reasonable person to resign. Accordingly, there was no constructive discharge. The court also rejected the argument that claimant would have lost her job with or without a hearing as the employer was determined to terminate her employment, therefore she was not required to pursue a futile course of action. The court observed that while the employer was zealous, its actions were not merely vexatious. Since the Teacher Tenure Act provides possible appellate relief, that option was not futile. Moreover, when an employer reprimands or relieves an employee of his or her duties based on a legitimate policy or procedure, it does not give an employee good reason to resign.

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

Farnsworth v Michigan Masonic Home – 10.76

Farnsworth v Michigan Masonic Home
Digest no. 10.76

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Farnsworth v Michigan Masonic Home, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued January 17, 1992 (Docket No. 130244).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Paula M. Farnsworth
Employer: Michigan Masonic Home
Docket no.: B88-08686-109087W
Date of decision: January 17, 1992

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Discipline imposed for legitimate absences and other factors beyond a claimant’s control may provide good cause for leaving.

FACTS: The claimant had been ill with mononucleosis and was off of work. Upon her return, the claimant was disciplined. Although acknowledging her absences were either the result of illness or pre-approved annual leave, the employer disciplined her for being excessively absent. It also criticized her appearance and slurred speech. The claimant’s slurred speech was the result of a congenital birth defect. The employer believed it was indicative of alcohol use. Shortly thereafter, the claimant submitted her resignation.

DECISION: The claimant was not disqualified under Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: The claimant reasonably believed she would be subjected to further discipline for legitimate absences and other factors beyond her control.

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

Mitchell v BOC Car Assembly – 8.06

Mitchell v BOC Car Assembly
Digest no. 8.06

Section 28

Cite as: Mitchell v BOC Car Assembly, unpublished opinion of the Ingham County Circuit Court, issued March 29, 1990 (Docket No. 89-63386-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Gerald Mitchell
Employer: BOC Car Assembly
Docket no.: B88-05151-108575W
Date of decision: March 29, 1990

View/download the full decision

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Claimant’s assertion that he was confused about the proper method of filing is not good cause for failure to file a timely claim.

FACTS: Claimant was temporarily laid off for two weeks. He failed to contact the MESC about filing a claim until a week after he returned to work. The claimant said he was confused as to how to file because he believed he would be contacted and/or would be able to file by mail.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible for benefits under Section 28(1)(b).

RATIONALE: It was claimant’s responsibility to get clarification about how to file a claim. While the rules and procedures may be confusing, the Agency could not provide information or clarification if claimant did not seek it.

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