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Giebel v State of Michigan 10.29

Section 29(1)(a)

VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Condonation, Grievance procedure, Harassment, Persona non grata, Sarcasm

CITE AS: Giebel v State of Michigan, No. 3863, Midland Circuit Court (October 1, 1974).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Richard A. Giebel

Employer: State of Michigan

Docket No: B71 2038 40969

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where supervisory sarcasm and co-worker harassment make an employee persona non grata in the work place, the entire course of conduct becomes attributable to the employer, and may constitute good cause for voluntary leaving, even where the claimant does not use the grievance procedure.

FACTS: The claimant worked as a Public Welfare Trainee in the Department of Social Services. The Court adopted the Referee's findings, and said:

"In summary, it appears that the claimant made certain objections to the conduct of fellow employees with regard to drinking beer in the offices and taking home shoes which had been donated for indigents. These complaints, going over the head of supervisors in some instances, and personality idiosyncrasies of the claimant made him persona non grata with co-employees and supervisors. They engaged in a course of conduct which claimant describes as harassment."

The Referee found that when the claimant asked for a day off, "The employer stated that he was permitted to take the day off. She further stated that he did not need written permission. His supervisor then said, 'Just go away and stay away and don't bother to come back.'" The claimant resigned, without filing a grievance, after staff members ransacked his office, put a mental health manual on his desk and posted a religious caricature on his office door, to teach him a lesson.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: "The brief of the Appellee admits only the 'sarcastic statement by an irritated superior on one occasion,' but when that statement is placed in the time sequence of the other acts of harassment the entire course of conduct becomes attributable to the employer. Passive employer approval can be sufficient. Taylored Products, Inc. v MESC, Berrien Circuit #C-3963-H (1966), 5 CCH Unemployment Insurance Reporter Section 1975.949."



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