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Hibbard v Tuff Kote Dinol Rustproof 10.15

Section 29(1)(a)

VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Consumer Protection Act, Good Cause, Illegal work activities

CITE AS: Hibbard v Tuff Kote Dinol Rustproof, No. 82-17148 AE, Muskegon Circuit Court (May 17, 1983).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Thomas Hibbard

Employer: Tuff Kote Dinol Rustproof

Docket No: B82 13562 85191W

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: " ... An employee whose work duties include activities which require the employee to violate federal, state or local laws has demonstrated good cause attributable to the employer or employing unit."

FACTS: Claimant terminated his employment because his company advertised to the public a "two-step" rust proofing process which involved the application of both a penetrant and a sealant; however, the management of the firm often instructed claimant to apply only the penetrant or only the sealant to an automobile. Claimant felt that he was "cheating the public" and not doing the rust-proofing jobs properly or as advertised, and that numerous customer complaints resulted from this practice. After protesting to management about this improper and inadequate procedure, claimant resigned.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: The employer's occasional practice of requiring claimant to utilize a one-step rust proofing process when the employer advertised to the public a two-step rust proofing process compelled claimant to participate in practices which were in clear violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, MCLA 445.901 et seq, MSA 19.418(1) et seq.

The Court adopted the reasoning of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in Zinman v Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 8 Pa Cmwlth 649, 305 A2d 380 (1973), in which the Court held that a legal duty to obey laws may constitute appropriate circumstances for an employee to voluntarily terminate employment and still qualify for unemployment compensation benefits. Claimant acted in good faith and as a reasonable person in terminating his employment rather than continue in an illegal practice. Claimant had good cause to resign, and this good cause was directly attributable to the employer.


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