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Christophersen v City of Menominee 12.07

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, Series of incidents, Single incident, Last straw doctrine

CITE AS: Christophersen v City of Menominee, 137 Mich App 776 (1984).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Warren Christophersen

Employer: City of Menominee

Docket No: B82 0013 82601

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Misconduct under the statute can be based on a series of incidents which collectively indicate an employee's wilful disregard of the employer's interests even though no single incident constitutes misconduct under the statute.

FACTS: Claimant was employed for 16 years by the City of Menominee Police Department as a patrolman, sergeant, and captain. He was discharged as a result of four incidents occurring in 1981, although no single incident rose to the level of misconduct under the statute.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for misconduct discharge.

RATIONALE: The Court commented on the definition of misconduct set forth in Giddens v Employment Security Commission, 4 Mich App 526 and applied the definition therein to the factual situation in the present case.

"This Court interprets the ... language of Giddens, ... to mean that 'misconduct' is established in the series of acts under scrutiny, considered together, evince a wilful disregard of the employer's interests ... To hold otherwise would allow for unemployment compensation under circumstances where an individual engages in an infinite number of work place infractions, thereby causing strife in the work place and justifying discharge. Allowing for compensation under the circumstances is at odds with the declared policy of the MESC to benefit persons unemployed through no fault of their own."

"[T]here is sufficient, competent, and substantial evidence on the whole record to support the Referee's decision in determining that the four incidents considered collectively constituted 'misconduct' under the statute."


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