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Benaske v General Telephone Company of Michigan 12.28

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT DISCHARGE, Arrest on felony charge, Contributing to delinquency, Criminal sexual conduct, Connected with work, Misdemeanor conviction, Telephone installer

CITE AS: Benaske v General Telephone Company of Michigan, No. 79 008439 AE, Isabella Circuit Court (March 5, 1980).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Raymond O. Benaske

Employer: General Telephone Co.

Docket No: B77 444 55273

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where an employer has not proved any connection between a claimant's work and the actual events resulting in the claimant's arrest, a charge of off-duty criminal conduct is not misconduct under the Act.

FACTS: A telephone installation and repair worker was discharged five days after he was arrested and charged with a felony, criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. The incident leading to the charge took place after working hours, and in a county outside the claimant's service area. The claimant later entered a plea of guilty to the misdemeanor or contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for misconduct.

RATIONALE: "To comply with the intent and language of the Act, the Board must restrict itself to standards that (A) put the burden on the employer to prove (B) a work connection by competent, material and substantial evidence. MESA, 38. Standards that demand less or consider extraneous factors are erroneous as a matter of law.

"The evidence does not support a finding that claimant was discharged for 'misconduct connected with his work.' Rather, he was discharged for merely having been accused of off-duty misconduct. Nor has the employer proved any connection between the actual events leading to claimant's arrest and claimant's work."


3, 7, 14, d5 & 15:A

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