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Enright v Saturn Retail of Michigan 12.127

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, Error in judgment or discretion

CITE AS: Enright v Saturn Retail of Michigan, Ingham Circuit Court, No. 03-1374-AE (January 30, 2004).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Kevin G. Enright
Employer: Saturn Retail of Michigan
Docket No. B2002-17365-RO1-167652

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Errors arising out of the natural consequence of the discretionary character of claimant’s position do not constitute disqualifying misconduct under the MES Act.

FACTS: Claimant worked for employer ten years, for the last five years he supervised the dealership’s service department. Employer first reprimanded claimant, after ten years of service, on July 27, 2002 for failing to administer lunch hour punches on subordinates’ time cards. Employer reprimanded claimant on August 8, 2002 for erroneously recording a subordinate was at work; suspended claimant for three days, then discharged him on August 13. Employer discharged claimant for inability to perform his job.

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

RATIONALE: Claimant avoided confrontation in favor of consensus, so he would make corrections to employees’ time cards as necessary rather than confront them. He relied on his rapport with employees to resolve discrepancies. Claimant’s alleged misconduct is a natural consequence of the discretionary character of his position as service manager. Carter v MESC, 364 Mich 538 (1961) expressly provides that “good-faith errors in judgment or discretion are not deemed ‘misconduct’ within the meaning of the statute.” Unlike the claimant in Christophersen v City of Menominee, 137 Mich App 776 (1984), who had more then six months and four written reprimands to conform his conduct, this claimant had 17 days. “This court will not impede Saturn’s right to choose its management team as it sees fit, but in doing so it cannot expect to avoid its responsibilities under, or frustrate the purpose of, the [Act].”


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