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Spence v The Dakota Corp. 10.94

Section 29(1)(a)

VOLUNTARY LEAVING, After-acquired evidence, Illegal work activities

CITE AS: Spence v The Dakota Corp., No. 00-1666-AE, Isabella Circuit Court (October 30, 2000)

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Edwin Spence
Employer: The Dakota Corporation
Docket No. B1999-04176-152773

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A truck driver required to violate USDOL regulations to meet the employer’s schedule, but who notifies the employer about the potential violations, has good cause attributable to the employer for a voluntary leaving if the employer fails to take remedial action.

FACTS: Claimant worked for the employer as a truck driver for three years. Claimant drove a minimum of seven hours between Grand Haven, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, delivering five loads of sand in four days. Claimant also commuted two and a half hours one-way to work, and spent four hours loading and unloading sand. The driving schedule resulted in claimant getting little or no sleep. Claimant falsified his travel logs to meet USDOT regulations. He complained to the employer that the schedule was taxing, illegal, compromised health and safety of the public, and that another employee also falsified logs. Claimant left after the employer failed to alter his schedule. Later the USDOT fined the employer $2100 for violations, including the false report of records of duty status.

DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: Claimant realized he was harming his health working in an illegal manner, violating USDOT regulations, and if he were caught he would be individually responsible for the fine. While claimant repeatedly informed employer that employer was forcing him to drive illegally and that he falsified his logs to maintain an appearance of legality, employer insisted the schedule was legal and refused to review claimant’s documentation. Employer told claimant he was on his own if he was caught with falsified logs. Employer should have known the schedule could not be done legally.


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