VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Collective bargaining agreement, Mandatory retirement
CITE AS: Dolce v Ford Motor Company, sub nom Parks v ESC, 427 Mich 224 (1986).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Dominick Dolce
Employer: Ford Motor Company
Docket No: B78 52393 R01 59916
SUPREME COURT HOLDING: An individual who is forced to leave work pursuant to mandatory retirement provisions of a collective bargaining agreement is not disqualified under Section 29(1)(a) of the MES Act.
FACTS: The claimant was separated from his employment, at age 68, by operation of a mandatory retirement provision of the collective bargaining agreement.
DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.
RATIONALE: "We do not believe that the drafters intended to deny benefits from persons unemployed due to being mandatorily retired. We recognize that under Michigan law the union is the collective bargaining agent for all the employees and in many respects the employee is bound by and accountable for the actions of its bargaining agent. However for purposes of determining voluntariness under the MESA, the collective bargaining process is too remote from the individual employees who come and go under it to allow those legislative presumptions under the state's scheme of labor law to transform a forced retirement into a voluntary leaving."
"The statute disqualifies those who have left work voluntarily. Dolce did not leave work voluntarily, but was forced to leave. ... Dolce was helpless to stave off the aging process and his eventual termination. The presence of a union agreement with the employer does not change the relationship between the employee and employer with respect to this statutory inquiry. The language of the statute directs the inquiry to whether the worker left voluntarily and does not address any agreements between the employer and third parties."