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Mitchell v Wal-Mart Associates 10.92

Section 29(1)(a)

VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Concurrent employment, Part-time work

CITE AS: Mitchell v Wal-Mart Associates, No. 02-31816-AE, Allegan County Circuit Court (November 22, 2002).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Denise M. Mitchell
Employer: Wal-Mart
Docket No. B2001-15958-RO1-162871W

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A claimant who voluntarily leaves part-time employment to save her full-time employment is not disqualified under Section 29(1)(a) if she is subsequently laid-off by the full-time employer.

FACTS: The claimant worked part-time for Wal-Mart, and simultaneously worked for a full-time employer. She was working more than 65 hours/week total. Claimant left her part-time employment due to conflicts with her work schedule with her full-time employer. The full-time employer unexpectedly laid her off the following day.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified pursuant to Section 29(1)(a).

RATIONALE: “Given the conflict in work schedules between the two jobs…,Wal-Mart’s actions of staffing and continuing operations at times threatening to the claimant’s full-time job would cause a reasonable and average person to choose between the two.” Claimant reasonably chose her full-time job. The court found non-binding support from another circuit and two other states in Dickerson v Norrell Health Care Inc, No. 95-1806-AE, Kent Circuit Court (September 21, 1995); Merkel v HIP of New Jersey, 573 A2d 517 (1990); and, Gilbert v Hanlon; 335 NW2d 548 (1983). In those cases, “the courts found that technical interpretations of “work” worked an injustice to the purpose and intentions of each state’s respective law by equating one’s reasonable decision to leave a part-time job with the unreasonable quest to leave employment altogether.”


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