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Sempliners Formalwear v Leifer 10.60

Section 29(1)(a)

VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Reasonable person standard, Spouse as employer, Procedure, Burden of legal argument

CITE AS: Sempliners Formalwear v Leifer, Bay Circuit Court No. 94-3420-AE, February 14, 1995

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Debra J. Leifer

Employer: Sempliners Formalwear

Docket No. B92-31007-124907W

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Claimant is not subject to disqualification where she left her employment, and the state, to ensure her personal safety from her husband who was also co-owner of the employer.

FACTS: The claimant worked for the employer from February 1990, to February 1992. The claimant was married to the president and part-owner of the employer. The claimant and her husband wintered in their home in Florida. The claimant had the practice of working full-time for the employer out of her Florida home. In spring of 1991, the claimant and her husband returned to Michigan. The claimant's husband became threatening towards her and other employees. The employer took steps to remove the claimant's husband from his office and to prohibit him from entering the business. The claimant informed the employer she planned on staying in Florida permanently because she feared for her safety and wanted to avoid her husband. Her husband hit her at work, threatened her, closed their joint checking account, changed the locks on their Michigan residence, and confiscated her car.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for benefits.

RATIONALE: This matter is an "unusual and unique case in that the claimant's employer is her husband." This unique relationship resulted in the employer, through the claimant's husband, exerting an inordinate amount of control over the claimant's professional and personal life. The claimant had the practice of staying in Florida during the winter months and working out of her Florida home. The claimant did not intend to resign but informed the employer she intended to work from Florida as was her practice. The employer did not notify the claimant that she would compromise her employment by remaining in Florida.

It is the duty and responsibility of a party, not the court, to search for and uncover legal authority in support of the party's argument.


12, 17, d24: H

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