Bureau of Worker’s and Unemployment Compensation v Detroit Medical Center – 17.21

Bureau of Worker’s and Unemployment Compensation v Detroit Medical Center
Digest no. 17.21

Section 421.43(o)(v) & (q)(ii)

Cite as: Bureau of Unemployment Compensation v Detroit Medical Ctr, 267 Mich App 500 (2005).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Marquetta Jones
Employer: Detroit Medical Center
Docket No.: 252777
Date of decision: July 26, 2005

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HOLDING: Claimant’s medical residency was not excluded from the Act’s coverage as (1) a work training program because the residency had no purpose to alleviate unemployment, poverty, or welfare dependence; nor (2) student employment because the employer was an non-profit organization.

FACTS: Claimant was a former medical resident (still registered as a full-time student during residency). After the UIA determined that medical residency was employment covered by the Act, an ALJ reversed. The board and circuit court affirmed. On appeal, the parties stipulated that the claimant was subject to the employer’s control and received remuneration.

DECISION: It was clear error for the ALJ, Board and circuit court to exclude the claimant’s employment as a medical resident from coverage under Section 421.43(o)(v) & (q)(ii).

Claimant’s medical residency was not excluded from the Act’s coverage as (1) a work training program because the residency had no purpose to alleviate unemployment, poverty, or welfare dependence; nor (2) student employment because the employer was an non-profit organization.

RATIONALE: Relying on Dana v American Youth Foundation, 257 Mich App 208; 668 NW2d 174 (2003), the court explained that interpretation of the work-relief and work-training exclusions in the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, 26 U.S.C. § 3301 et seq. are highly persuasive authority in resolving the similar exclusion in MCL § 421.43(o)(v). Dana followed U.S. Department of Labor guidance to interpret the exclusion, and held that in order to qualify as an exclusion from employment, a work-relief or work-training program must satisfy all mandatory requirements of the Department of Labor guidance (including that the products or services must be secondary to providing financial assistance, training, or work-experience to individuals to relieve them or unemployment or poverty). The court decided that the medical residency’s product or service was secondary to the purpose of training future doctors, but that there was no purpose of relieving the residents of unemployment, or poverty, or welfare dependence. Therefore, the medical residency could not be an excluded work-training program and it was clear error to hold otherwise.

It was also clear error to exclude Claimant’s medical residency as student employment under MCL § 421.43(q)(ii) because it was undisputed that the employer was a non-profit organization (which are excepted from the student employment exclusion).

Digest author: Austin L. Webbert, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 24, 2017