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Sparrow Hospital v Mackiewicz and BWUC 12.125

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, Tardiness, Medical condition

CITE AS: Sparrow Hospital v Mackiewicz and BWUC, Ingham Circuit Court, No. 03-902-AE (March 3, 2004)

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Susan Mackiewicz
Employer: Sparrow Hospital
Docket No. B2002-10570-M2R-168083

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Repeated tardiness due to a medical condition, a circumstance beyond the claimant’s control, is not disqualifying misconduct.

FACTS: The employer discharged the claimant for excessive tardiness. The claimant was a 52-year-old registered nurse with rheumatoid arthritis, which afflicted both of her knees. The claimant was tardy 37 times between December 2000 and February 2002. The instances of tardiness ranged from one to eight minutes. Importantly, the employer discouraged punching-in early. Claimant testified that on many dates of tardy arrival she sat in her car rubbing her knees to prepare to walk to her department from the parking lot. Claimant’s immediate supervisor was aware of her health problems.

DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified under 29(1)(b).

RATIONALE: Hagenbuch, cited by the employer clearly states “[I]t is well established that excess absenteeism and tardiness for reasons not beyond the employee’s control constitutes misconduct . . .” 153 Mich App 834, 837 (1986) (emphasis added) Here it was reasonable for a 52-year-old woman with rheumatoid arthritis and a forty-five minute commute to linger in her car to stretch and massage her knees before beginning the long walk to her department and where early punch in was discouraged.


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