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Whittenberg v Norris Industries, Inc 12.40

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT DISCHARGE, Disruption of work, Emergency leave, Hardship on employer, Illness of cohabitant, Unauthorized absence

CITE AS: Whittenberg v Norris Industries, Inc, No. 77-13001 AE, Washtenaw Circuit Court (January 8, 1979).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Ronald Whittenberg

Employer: Norris Industries, Inc.

Docket No: B75 12093 49612

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where a non-disruptive two-day absence is caused by the psychiatric hospitalization of the claimant's unrelated cohabitant, the absence is not misconduct where emergency leave is requested on the second day.

FACTS: The claimant was discharged after a two-day absence caused by the emergency psychiatric hospitalization of his cohabitant, whose doctor requested the claimant's presence. Contractual emergency leave was denied by the employer because the claimant made his request on March 18, 1975, the second day, and because his cohabitant was not a member of his family. The employer did not show that the absence disrupted company operations.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for misconduct.

RATIONALE: "Given the nature of appellant's close relationship with the friend requiring emergency assistance, and the fact that it was emergency psychiatric attention that was required and appellant's presence was requested by a doctor, it seems logical that appellant's situation fits within the contemplated scope of the collective bargaining provision, the provision cannot be read so narrowly as appellee would desire."

The Court characterized the claimant's failure to request a leave on March 17, 1975 as a "good faith error." It added that the employer did not demonstrate that the claimant's absence disrupted its work or its right to control the work.



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