MISCONDUCT, False statement to Commission, Fraud, Connected with work
CITE AS: Staples (General Motors Corp), 1991 BR 114261 (B89-10370).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Sophia R. Staples
Employer: General Motors Corp
Docket No: B89 10370 114261
BOARD OF REVIEW HOLDING: Intentional misrepresentation of an unemployment benefit claim is as a matter of law work connected misconduct and disqualifying under Section 29(1)(b).
FACTS: Claimant worked for the employer from September, 1987 until May, 1989. In September, 1988 claimant called in ill one day and reported to the MESC claiming she was laid off. She continued to work and received benefit checks for weeks ending October 8, 1988 and October 22, 1988. Claimant specifically told the MESC she was laid off and was not an employee during this period. On March 9, 1989 the Commission issued a determination that was not appealed which found that claimant owed restitution and a penalty for intentionally misrepresenting her work situation in order to receive benefits. As a result of claimant's misrepresentation to secure benefits while employed, she was discharged.
DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for benefits under Section 29(1)(b).
RATIONALE: The courts are split on the interpretation of whether falsification of an application for unemployment benefits constitutes misconduct. In GMC v Belcher, No 78-832-459-AE (October 3, 1979) and Chrysler Corp. v Douglas, No. 10-1015 (June 6, 1968), the Wayne Circuit Court found that this was not sufficiently work connected and claimant was not disqualified.
However, in Chrysler Corp. v Hartman, Wayne Circuit Court, No. 10-0157 (May 2, 1968) and Chrysler Corp. v Williams, Wayne Circuit Court, No. 10-0070 (May 2, 1968) and most recently in GMC v Hemphill, Washtenaw Circuit Court, No. 86-31122-AE (November 14, 1986), the courts felt that as a matter of law, falsification of an unemployment benefit application document constitutes misconduct against the employer.
The Board noted that none of the above cited cases were a precedent on the Board. After a review of these cases, the Board adopted the analysis of Hemphill and held as a matter of law that intentional misrepresentation of an unemployment benefit claim is work connected misconduct and disqualifying under Section 29(1)(b) of the MES Act.