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Applewood Nursing Center v Schulties 12.46

Section 29 (1) (b)

MISCONDUCT, Employer directed wrongdoing

CITE AS: Applewood Nursing Center v Schulties, No. 111638 (Mich App October 18, 1989); lv den 434 Mich 918 (1990).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant:           Annette Schulties and Janice R. Cornell
Employer:          Applewood Nursing Center
Docket No:        B86 12935 105129

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: An employee who is discharged by an employer in an attempt to cover up its own wrongdoing when the employee involved engaged in the alleged wrongdoing at the employer's request is not disqualified for benefits.

FACTS: The claimants were instructed by the employer to alter their time cards in order that the employer could bring itself into compliance with government mandated staff-to-patient ratio requirements. After the claimants had done so the employer discharged the claimants in order to cover up its own wrongdoing.

The employer asserted the claimants should be disqualified for benefits because even if their actions were done at its request they were fraudulent and therefore should be considered to be misconduct.

DECISION: Claimants were not discharged for acts of misconduct and are not disqualified.

RATIONALE: "Suffice it to say that in determining whether an individual's conduct constitutes misconduct, we view the conduct in light of the employer's interests. Here, claimants' conduct was not in disregard of Applewood's interests. Claimants acted pursuant to Applewood's administrator's orders. Even if the orders did not come directly from the owner of Applewood, nothing in the record indicates that claimants thought they might be disregarding his interests or standards of behavior. In fact, claimants' conduct seemingly was coterminous with Applewood's interests.

Moreover, the referee found that claimants were discharged in an attempt by Applewood to cover up its own wrongdoing. And, Applewood does not now dispute that finding. Therefore, under the plain language of the statute, claimants were not discharged for their misconduct, even if they in fact engaged in misconduct."

11/90 13, 14:G

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