VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Concurrent employment, Part-time work
CITE AS: Hilton (Meijer Stores Limited), 2004 BR 170939 (B2003-09139)
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Akira Hilton
Employer: Meijer Stores Limited
Docket No. B2003-09139-170939
BOARD HOLDING: A claimant who has simultaneous employment with a part-time employer and a full-time employer, who leaves her part-time job because it conflicts with the full-time job, is disqualified under Section 29(1)(a) because her leaving was not attributable to the part-time employer.
FACTS: Claimant worked for Meijer on a part-time basis, and simultaneously worked full-time for Wallside Windows. Claimant voluntarily left her employment with Meijer because it conflicted with her full-time employment. Ten days later, Wallside Windows discharged the claimant for non-disqualifying reasons.
DECISION: The claimant is disqualified from receiving benefits under Section 29(1)(a).
RATIONALE: In Dickerson v Norrell Health Care, Inc., Kent Circuit Court No. 95-1806-AE September 21, 1995, (Digest 10.81), the circuit court addressed what presents itself as a gross inequity: that although claimant had been laid off from a full-time job for non-disqualifying circumstances, the claimant was nevertheless ineligible for benefits solely because the claimant had just voluntarily left an unrelated part-time job. The court’s conclusion that a claimant could not be found to have “left employment” unless her leaving resulted in total unemployment is at odds with the plain and unambiguous language of the statute. The court also ignores that the employer the claimant quit faces charges to its account and tax rate increases even though it in no way contributed to the job separation. Additionally, if such a claimant quit only one of her jobs, she could receive unemployment benefits provided she still worked at least part-time and thus was not totally unemployed. Then the former full-time employer’s account would be charged for the benefits paid, and the current part-time employer would also be charged for a portion of the benefits, even though neither employer in any way contributed to the claimant’s job separation. The Board notes that circuit court decisions are not binding precedent. Due to the potential unintended consequences of Dickerson, if a change in the statutory language is necessary, it should come from the legislature.