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Mercy Memorial Hospital Corp v Tompkins 10.74

Section 29(1)(a)

VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Involuntary leaving

CITE AS: Mercy Memorial Hospital Corp v Tompkins, Monroe Circuit Court, No. 94-2923-AE (May 4, 1995)

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Rhonda L. Tompkins

Employer: Mercy Memorial Hospital Corp.

Docket No. B93-00829-126935

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: An involuntary separation due to serious health problems and hospitalization is not a voluntary leaving and the disqualification provision of Section 29(1)(a) is inapplicable.

FACTS: The claimant began working for the employer on December 13, 1991. On June 22, 1992, she was hospitalized for hypermesis relating to her pregnancy. The claimant maintained contact with her employer and provided medical documentation regarding her illness. On July 15, 1992, the employer terminated the claimant, retroactive to June 15, 1992. The employer terminated the claimant because, as a probationary employee, she was not entitled to a medical leave of absence. The employer contended the claimant quit, the claimant contended she was involuntarily terminated. The claimant's physician precluded her from doing any work until August 1, 1992, when the restrictions were lifted.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for benefits.

RATIONALE: The burden of establishing the separation was involuntary or voluntary with good cause attributable to the employer rests with the claimant. Cooper v University of Michigan, 100 Mich App 99 (1980). The court distinguished Watson v Murdock's Food and Wet Goods, 148 Mich App 802 (1986), and Leeseberg v Smith-Jamieson, 149 Mich App 463 (1986). In the present matter the court noted the record did not indicate the claimant intended to leave work after her baby was born, unlike the claimant in Watson who did not intend to return. The court distinguished Leeseberg since the claimant in the present matter was herself ill. In Leeseberg claimant's spouse was ill. The claimant "involuntarily left work due to her serious heath problems and hospitalization." Section 29(1)(a) is inapplicable. The employer did not discharge the claimant for misconduct pursuant to Washington v Amway Grand Plaza, 135 Mich App 652 (1984).


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