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Cline v Willow Run Schools 12.117

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, Standard of conduct

CITE AS: Cline v Willow Run Schools, Washtenaw Circuit Court No. 85-29474-AE (February, 6, 1986).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Earl Cline

Employer: Willow Run Schools

Docket No. B81-15811-RM9-88649

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Misconduct can be established by deliberate violations of standards of behavior even absent proof of wrongful intent.

FACTS: Claimant worked as a bus driver. The claimant transported a school bus of "handicapped" children on the expressway to a Special Olympics event. The employer's witnesses testified the claimant was speeding excessively, which the claimant denied. The claimant and employer witness agreed the claimant stopped for gas and kept the bus engine running while he filled the tank. The witnesses disagreed whether the children were on the bus or removed from the bus while he refueled.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for misconduct.

RATIONALE: The Referee erred when he found "the claimant's actions do not exhibit malice, hostility, or reckless disregard for the employer's interests, nor was there any bad purpose or intent to do harm." Rather the court noted in Carter v Employment Security Commission, 364 Mich 538 (1961) there is a distinction between deliberate misconduct and negligent misconduct. The court found "[d]eliberate violations of standards of behavior rise above good faith errors or carelessness by the nature of their deliberateness. There is an element of culpability inherent in deliberate violations of behavior standards. Thus, the additional proof of wrongful intent or evil design is not required." Under the standard developed in Bell v Employment Security Comm., 359 Mich 649 (1960), to be guilty of misconduct the claimant "must intend only those actions which create risk of danger." Here the claimant deliberately kept the bus running while filling it with gasoline. There is no need to determine if the actions had a wrongful intent or evil design.


9, 6, d1: N/A

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