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Special Transportation Management v Ashley 12.116

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, Single incident, Negligence, Higher duty

CITE AS: Special Transportation Management v Ashley, unpublished memorandum opinion Court of Appeals, March 29, 1993 (No. 141590).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Shirley Ashley

Employer: Special Transportation Management

Docket No. B88-0955-110001W

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The claimant's isolated neglect was not disqualifying misconduct. The higher standard of care for special needs children did not convert isolated negligence into misconduct.

FACTS: The claimant drove a bus for special needs children. At the conclusion of a trip the claimant went toward the rear of the bus to aid a child whose braces were entangled in a seat. She saw another child go towards the front of the bus and believed that child exited the bus. The child had not, but instead went to the back of the bus and fell asleep. The claimant untangled the one child and saw that child exit. She looked around in the seats as she returned to the front of the bus. She saw no other children and believed the bus was empty. She was in a hurry because she needed to use the restroom. She drove the bus to her home to use the restroom and then found out one child was still in a rearward seat, asleep.

DECISION: The claimant was not disqualified for misconduct.

RATIONALE: The Board found the claimant's isolated neglect was not disqualifying misconduct. The Board fully considered the high level of responsibility the claimant had for the welfare and safety of special need wards. The Court of Appeals adopted the circuit court's analysis. The circuit court noted that Wickey v Employment Security Commission, 369 Mich 487, (1963) did not alter the Carter definition of misconduct so as to convert mere negligence in some occupations into misconduct in other "high responsibility" occupations. Rather it noted the Referee could properly take into account the degree of responsibility the claimant owes to the employer and what his infraction of the rules means as far as hardship or trouble to the employer. Wickey did not expand the definition of misconduct "to require an assessment of varying degrees of employee responsibilities."


3, 14: N/A

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