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Bell v ESC 12.02

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT DISCHARGE, Sleeping on the job

CITE AS: Bell v ESC, 359 Mich 649 (1960).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Ora H. Bell

Employer: McInerney Spring & Wire Company

Docket No: B85 1012 20924

SUPREME COURT HOLDING: Misconduct connected with the work requires "a breach of those standards of conduct reasonably applicable to the industrial task assigned, rather than of those standards of ethics and morals applicable to the industrial task in general."

FACTS: The claimant was employed as a fireman to work in the employer's boiler room. "When the claimant was hired, it was stressed that he must be alert and must not drink on the job." He was discharged after he was found sleeping on the job.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for misconduct connected with the work.

RATIONALE: "We may concede that no man in his right mind would 'intend' to fall asleep while on duty in a boiler room. But also we must hold that a man intends the normal consequences of his acts . . . Moreover, tested by the 'standards of conduct reasonably applicable to the industrial task assigned' claimant's position is no better. The job for which he was hired was one of great responsibility. The results of a boiler explosion, either to him, as he dozed nearby, or to his fellow workmen, or to the plant itself, we need not describe. Judged by any criterion his act was 'misconduct connected with his work.'"

"We find the employer has fully met the burden of proof of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the claimant was discharged for misconduct connected with his work."

The Court relied upon Cassar v Employment Security Commission, 343 Mich 380 in reaching the decision.



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