Chapter 10 VOLUNTARY LEAVING Section 29(1)(a)
VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Constructive voluntary leaving, Pay reduction, Permanent closing
CITE AS: Copper Range Co v UCC, 320 Mich 460 (1948).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: James W. Austin, et al
Employer: Copper Range Co
Docket No: B5 9204 2910
SUPREME COURT HOLDING: Where employees are threatened with the loss of their jobs if they refuse a pay cut, their action in rejecting the proposal, followed by the permanent closing of the facility, does not constitute voluntary leaving.
FACTS: The market price of the employer's product fell sharply at the end of World War II. The 539 claimants were asked to accept a reduction in their wage scale, and were told the company would not continue operations at the existing pay rates. The employees voted down the pay cut. The employer closed the facility permanently.
DECISION: The claimants are not disqualified for voluntary leaving.
RATIONALE: "(W)e are not as yet prepared to accept and apply the doctrine of constructive voluntary leaving, particularly in the light of the circumstances of the instant case."
"To place the stamp of judicial approval upon the contentions of appellee in the instant case would be tantamount to the issuance of a notice to all employers in Michigan that, whenever they are confronted with economic loss, they can demand an abrogation of their working agreements and reduce compensation to a point unacceptable to employees, and thereby absolve themselves of the responsibilities imposed upon them by the unemployment compensation act."