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Dickerson v Norrell Health Care, Inc 10.81

Section 29(1)(a)

VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Concurrent employment

CITE AS: Dickerson v Norrell Health Care, Inc, Kent Circuit Court No. 95-1806-AE September 21, 1995.

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Florence Dickerson

Employer: Norrell Health Care, Inc.

Docket No. B93-11864-127766W

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A claimant who had simultaneous full-time and part-time employment, who left the part-time job for disqualifying reasons, and later unexpectedly lost the full-time job for non-disqualifying reasons, is not disqualified from receiving benefits under Section 29(1)(a). This claimant can be said to have "left work" only if "quitting resulted in total unemployment, not one less job."

FACTS: From December, 1992, to April, 1993, the claimant worked two jobs. One job was full-time for Luther Home, the other job was part-time for Norrell Health Care. The claimant quit the part-time job with Norrell Health Care due to family obligations. About a month later, she lost her full-time job. The claimant applied for benefits and was denied. Nothing about the loss of the full-time job was disqualifying. However, the claimant's quit of her part-time job was held to disqualify her from the benefits she would otherwise have received as the result of the loss of her full-time job.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified from receiving benefits.

RATIONALE: The court relied on cases from other states which it found identical to the present case. See McCarthy v Iowa Employment Security Commission, 76 NW2d 201 (1956); Brown v Labor & Industrial Relations Commission, 577 SW2d 90 (1979); Gilbert v Hanlon, 335 NW2d 548 (1983); and Merkel v HIP of New Jersey, 573 A2d 517 (1990). In those cases, the reviewing courts held that an "employee can be said to have left work only if quitting resulted in total unemployment, not one less job." The court found this interpretation is "more reasonably in accord with the Legislature's intent because common sense as well as the rules on construction . . . says that the Legislature intended" that result. Richards v American Fellowship Ins Co, 84 Mich App 629, 634 (1978), lv app den 406 Mich 862 (1979). The Board of Review's interpretation "undermine[s] the core premise of the Michigan Employment Security Act without accomplishing anything other than providing an unearned windfall to employers at the expense of employees."


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