MISCONDUCT, Insubordination, Race discrimination
CITE AS: Ham v County of Saginaw, No. 106698 (Mich App February 9, 1990).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Joseph N. Ham
Employer: Saginaw County
Docket No. B85 13807 102135
COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The contention that claimant was treated differently because of his race goes to the issue of whether or not he was justifiably discharged. However, unequal treatment does not create an exception or excuse for misconduct which would entitle claimant to benefits.
FACTS: Claimant was executive director of employer's Commission on Aging. His predecessor, a white man, had opened a "trips and tours" checking account using county funds. Employer's comptroller asked claimant to close the account because it was not under county control. Claimant did so but later reopened the account at another bank. The county commission fired claimant following an investigation for his actions of reopening the account and using public funds for unauthorized purposes. Claimant maintained that the directive to close the account was politically and racially motivated and that similar conduct with respect to use of the account on the part of the former, white director had been tolerated.
DECISION: Claimant was disqualified for work-connected misconduct.
RATIONALE: Where a claimant admits defying a direct order of employer and misusing public funds, the fact that such behavior on the part of a white predecessor was tolerated or condoned does not relieve a claimant from the sanction of disqualification under the misconduct discharge provisions of the MES Act.