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Bernhardt v Active Tool & Mfg. Company 12.112

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, Insubordination, Single incident, Scope of review

CITE AS: Bernhardt v Active Tool & Mfg. Company, Wayne Circuit Court, No. 87-713560-AE (February 1, 1988).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: James M. Bernhardt

Employer: Active Tool & Manufacturing Co.

Docket No. B85-09648-101462

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A single instance of insubordination may constitute disqualifying misconduct.

FACTS: The claimant was fired for refusing to follow a direct order. The claimant was told by his foreman to abide by the work leader's instructions. The work leader wanted to use a particular area the claimant was using. The claimant refused to give up that area. The foreman repeatedly told the claimant to either follow the instructions or he would be considered to have quit or be fired. The claimant was again asked what he was going to do and he picked up his tools and left.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for misconduct.

RATIONALE: The court found as follows:

Although an employer's direction as to the performance of job-related tasks may not seem to the employee to be the best or most effective way of accomplishing the assigned task, if the directions are reasonable and safe, the employer has a right to expect those directions to be carried out, and the wilful failure of an employee to do so is a deliberate violation of the standards of behavior which an employer has the right to expect of his employee. Further, although the employee may believe that he has a better plan, an employee's persistent and wilful failure to obey reasonable job-related and safe directions of the employer invades the employer's province of managing and controlling his business. As such, it is a wilful disregard of the employer's interests.

Before reaching the merits, the court also noted the Board's scope of review is broader than that of a circuit court. "The Board then is given the power to substitute its findings of fact and decisions for those of the referee freely and on the basis of its own review of the evidence, and may assign its own weight to such evidence."


3, 6, d14: N/A

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