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Vander Laan v Mulder 12.53

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, First Amendment, Religious conversation

CITE AS: Vander Laan v Mulder, 178 Mich App 172 (1989).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Sharlyn Vander Laan

Employer: J.B. Mulder, D.D.S.

Docket No: B86 05311 102838W

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: As the state did not condition the receipt of unemployment benefits upon conduct proscribed by claimant's religious faith, claimant is properly subject to disqualification.

FACTS: Claimant was a dental hygienist who continued to work in the dental practice purchased by employer. She persisted in "sharing" her religious faith with patients despite repeated admonitions from employer not to do so. Employer fired claimant after losing business, receiving complaints and dealing with patients who refused to have their teeth cleaned by claimant.

DECISION: Claimant was disqualified for misconduct.

RATIONALE: Claimant's actions were clearly inimical to the employer's interests. Claimant's "sharing" was personally motivated and was not required by her religious belief. This case is therefore distinguishable from those where benefits were denied because of conduct mandated by religious belief. Claimant did not have to choose between adhering to her religious convictions or losing her job.


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