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Grand Rapids Gravel Company v Appeal Board 12.43

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT DISCHARGE, Connected with work, Simple negligence, Intentional acts

CITE AS: Grand Rapids Gravel Company v Appeal Board, No. 46189 Kent Circuit Court (January 29, 1960).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Leon Engel

Employer: Grand Rapids Gravel Company

Docket No: B56 611 22112

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: While the acts of an individual may justify discharge they do not necessarily constitute statutory misconduct.

FACTS: "The claimant was first employed with duties other than truck driving and within a period of about two years he incurred five non-driving accidents ... " His employer transferred him "to truck driving as a safeguard against further plant injuries. ... His record while driving for the company paralleled his earlier record ... and he had a series of ten accidents ... After the claimant's last accident, he was discharged.

DECISION: The claimant is not discharged for misconduct.

RATIONALE: "Of the accidents referred to and the conduct with reference thereto there are only three which can seriously be claimed to meet the test of misconduct. ... On none of these occasions, did the employer seek to discharge the employe. The last of the three occurred more than a year prior to the date of the [last] accident" ... which was due to simple negligence. "The employer cannot ... retain the employe for a period of more than a year and, without further evidence of misconduct, discharge on the basis of such stale evidence."

The Court adopted the decision of the Referee who held:

"As far as the Michigan Employment Security Act is concerned, the right to discharge an employe rests with the employer. However, the mere fact that the employer does discharge an employe does not establish that the discharge was for misconduct. That must be determined as stated above on the proven conduct of the claimant under the provisions of the Michigan Employment Security Act and,particularly, interpretation and definition of the term 'misconduct' as established by the courts of this state. When this is not done, the Referee has no alternative but to find that the act or acts of misconduct complained of have not been established by a preponderance of the evidence ... "



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