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Simpson v MBS Commerical Printers, Inc. 10.97

Section 29(1)(a)

VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Good cause, Threat

CITE AS: Simpson v MBS Commercial Printers, Inc, Bay Circuit Court, 99-3129-AE-B (August 25, 2000).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Darren H. Simpson
Employer: MBS Commercial Printers, Inc.
Docket No. B98-00846-148280W

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A death threat made by employer, coupled with past abuse from the employer, and the employee’s reasonable belief that employer was capable of acting on the threat, constitutes good cause attributable to the employer for voluntary leaving.

FACTS: On the claimant’s last day, he had an argument with the owner, which the owner initiated. Claimant testified the owner threatened to kill him, which the employer denied. The ALJ failed to make a credibility finding. Claimant had difficulty with the owner in the past – physical and verbal abuse by the owner, and a physical assault by the owner’s brother. The owner owned guns; claimant believed he would carry out the death threat and later filed a police report. The claimant worked the balance of his shift before leaving.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified from receiving benefits.

RATIONALE: Claimant finished his shift on Friday, and notified employer that he quit the following Monday. Instead of provoking employer in an environment employer controlled, claimant opted to notify employer of his leaving at a later time, allowing for a period of “cooling down.” Claimant chose the prudent course, which in no way diminishes the seriousness of employer’s threat. Good cause exists where the circumstances which prompted the claimant’s departure would have caused an average, reasonable, and otherwise qualified worker to leave. Carswell v Share House, Inc., 151 Mich App 392 (1986). The employer made a death threat. Employees should not have to labor under the threat of murder.


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