Dejarnette v HR Staffing Team, LLC– 10.124

Dejarnette v HR Staffing Team, LLC
Digest No. 10.124

Section 421.29

Cite as: Dejarnette v HR Staffing Team, LLC, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, issued August 26, 2013 (Docket No.: B2013-07161:238484).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Pamela Dejarnette
Employer: HR Staffing Team, LLC
Date of decision: August 26, 2013

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HOLDING: Claimant is not disqualified for benefits under the voluntary leaving provision of  MCL 29(1)(a).

FACTS: Claimant worked for a staffing agency. Claimant was experiencing difficulties and notified her employer that she would no longer report to her last assignment. Claimant requested another assignment but the employer told Claimant no other assignments were currently available. After learning no other assignments were available, Claimant filed for benefits.

DECISION: The matter is referred to the Agency for determination under MCL 48(1) because Claimant left an assignment and that work remained available to her. Claimant may therefore be subject to offset under the lost remuneration provision of MCL 48(1).

RATIONALE: The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission stated that the employer must first establish that a claimant voluntarily left employment before a matter can be addressed under MCL 29(1)(a). See Ackerberg v Grant Community Hospital, 138 Mich App 295 (1984). The court reasoned that Claimant had not voluntarily left her employment. Instead, Claimant left an assignment. Therefore, the court found MCL 29(1)(a) to be inapplicable in this case.

Digest author: Rita Samaan, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 25, 2017

Wright v Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. – 10.111

Wright v Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., UIA

Digest No. 10.111

Section 29(1)(a)


Cite as: Wright v Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co, unpublished opinion of the Oakland County Circuit Court, issued August 18, 2005 (Docket No. 05-064329-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Sherry Wright
Employer: Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Inc.
Date of decision: August 18, 2005

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HOLDING: When an employee resigns and takes a severance package, the separation is considered to be voluntary. “‘Voluntary’ connotes a choice between alternatives that ordinary persons find reasonable.” MacArthur v Borman’s Inc, 200 Mich App 686 (1993). An agreement between an employer and an employee that states the employer will not contest unemployment benefits is not binding on the Agency.

FACTS: Claimant worked for employer from August 19, 1986 until March 2004. In January 2004, in order to reduce its workforce, the employer offered a severance package in exchange for resignation. Part of this agreement was that the employer would not contest Claimant’s eligibility for UI benefits. Claimant was not told what would happen if she refused the offer, however she did know that she had less seniority than many other employees. Her future at the company was therefore uncertain if she did not take the severance package.

The Agency found Claimant disqualified under the voluntary leaving provision. The ALJ found that Claimant had voluntarily quit, but due to the agreement restitution was to be charged to the employer not Claimant. Board of Review and Circuit Court upheld the decision.

DECISION: The Circuit Court found that Claimant chose to take the severance package instead of continuing to work with an uncertain future. She was therefore disqualified.

RATIONALE: Claimant relied on the dissent in the Board of Review decision for her appeal. That dissent relied on unpublished opinions of the Michigan Court of Appeals and circuit court opinions. Claimant did not attach these decisions to her appeal, so the Circuit Court found them unpersuasive. Relying on MacArthur v Borman’s Inc, the Circuit Court found that Claimant could have chosen to continue to work at the employer with an uncertain future. Since Claimant, instead, chose to leave and take the severance package, she voluntarily quit.

Digest author: Andrea M. Frailey, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: November 26, 2017

Mullins v. Golden Home Health Care Agency – 10.108

Mullins v. Golden Home Health Care Agency
Digest No. 10.108

Section 421.29(1)(a)

Cite as: Mullins v Golden Home Health Care Agency, unpublished opinion of the Wayne County Circuit Court, issued May 27, 2005 (Docket No. 05-503476-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Shirley Mullins
Employer: Golden Home Health Care Agency
Date of decision: May 27, 2005

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HOLDING: A claimant who was employed in two part-time jobs concurrently and subsequently quit one in order to accept a full-time job with the other employer is not disqualified from receiving benefits if she subsequently loses her job with the other employer for a non-disqualifying reason.   

FACTS: Claimant was working two different jobs with Golden Home Health and Walmart, concurrently. Golden Home Health told her she would be given additional clients which would require her to take on additional travel without reimbursement. Additionally, Claimant learned of a full time opportunity with Walmart that would entail higher pay, benefits, and no travel. Claimant decided to leave her employment with Golden Home Health to pursue the full time opportunity with Walmart. After leaving this position, Claimant lost her full time job with Walmart and sought to collect unemployment benefits. Claimant was denied.

The ALJ found Claimant was not disqualified for benefits. The MCAC reversed and found Claimant disqualified for benefits.

DECISION: The Circuit Court reversed the decision of the MCAC. Claimant is not disqualified for benefits.

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

Since, when Claimant quit her job with Golden Home Healthcare, it only resulted in one less job, and not total unemployment, Claimant’s decision to quit her job with Golden Home Health was not disqualifying under Section 29(1)(a) of the Act.

Digest author: Cydney Warburton, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 10/31/2017

Butler v City of Newaygo – 10.125

Butler v City of Newaygo
Digest No. 10.125

Section 421.29


Cite as: Butler v City of Newaygo, 115 Mich App 445 (1982).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Neil Butler
Employer: City of Newaygo
Date of decision: April 21, 1982

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HOLDING: There was ample evidentiary support for the administrative decision that the claimant was ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits under MCL 421.29(1)(a).

FACTS: Claimant was superintendent of sewers, superintendent of water, and superintendent for public works for the City of Newaygo. The city manager relieved Claimant of his duties as superintendent of public works. However, he retained his other positions, and his salary remained unchanged. Claimant did not oppose this change.

One day, the city manager reprimanded Claimant for providing municipal equipment to a private contractor without having first secured the proper authorization from the city manager. In that same month, someone broke into a city pump house and ruined the engine. Everyone, including Claimant, who had keys to the pump house was asked to take a lie detector test regarding this incident. However, the test was not administered. Claimant then resigned, alleging that he was forced to do so.

DECISION: The circuit court order affirming the ALJ’s denial of the requested benefits is affirmed. Regarding Claimant’s second issue on appeal about transcript fees, the court found that Claimant is entitled to immediate return of any money advanced by him for circuit court transcripts.

RATIONALE: The court reasoned that although the city manager removed Claimant from the public works superintendent position without following the proper procedures by securing a city council resolution on it, the removal without a council resolution did not constitute good cause to quit. In addition, the reprimand was not without basis in city policy, which is uncontested by Claimant. Thus, the reprimand did not constitute good cause to quit either.

Further, Claimant’s feeling that he was personally affronted by the request to take a lie detector test does not constitute good cause to quit. The test was not required, and refusal to take the test was not met with threats for disciplinary action. Claimant objected to the lie detector test only because he felt unjustly accused for the pump’s damage, which is not good cause for quitting.

The court also rejected Claimant’s assertion that he was “‘compelled’ by the ‘iron hand of the tyrant [i.e., his employer]’” to resign, because it was not supported by the record. Awarding the Claimant unemployment insurance benefits would have undermined the legislative policy to combat the burden of involuntary employment under MCL 421.29(1)(a).

Digest author: Rita Samaan, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 25, 2017