Section 29(1) (b)
CITE AS: Torres v Sempliners Formalwear, No. 99-3788-AE-B, Bay Circuit Court (February 28, 2000)
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: John G. Torres
Employer: Sempliners Formalwear
Docket No. B1999-05961-152280W
CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where the ALJ found disqualifying misconduct based on an evaluation of witness credibility, but credibility was only an issue as to non-material facts, the ALJ decision cannot be sustained.
FACTS: On December 11, 1998 claimant reported his absence from work due to a doctor appointment for his knee. Claimant’s doctor kept him off work until December 21. On December 21 claimant saw his doctor, who sent him for a test and kept him off work until December 30. On December 30 claimant underwent an MRI and his doctor told him he would need to be off until January 6. On January 6, 1999 claimant saw his doctor, and was told he had to be off until January 21. Claimant contacted the employer each time his doctor kept him off work. When claimant reported to employer on January 6 he was told to provide medical documentation. On January 15, 1999 employer sent claimant a letter discharging him for failure to provide medical documentation. Claimant turned in his uniform, and had medical documentation regarding his absences, but employer refused it. Claimant alleged he had not previously been told to provide medical documentation. Employer alleged this request had been made each time claimant reported that he needed to be off, but never gave claimant a time frame to submit the documentation.
DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified.
RATIONALE: The underlying ALJ decision made a credibility finding; however, this claimant’s entitlement to benefits is not an issue that should be resolved on the basis of the witnesses’ credibility. A witness’ credibility is relevant when facts are in dispute. The only fact in dispute was how many times employer requested medical documentation; this disputed fact has little bearing on the issue of whether claimant engaged in misconduct, as employer never gave claimant a time frame to submit medical documentation, and did not warn claimant that failure to provide the documentation would result in his discharge.