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Giddens v Employment Security Commission 12.62

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, Series of incidents, Last straw doctrine, Evidence, Business records, "Last straw"

CITE AS: Giddens v Employment Security Commission, 4 Mich App 526 (1966).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Marlin E. Giddens

Employer: General Motors (Fisher Body Division)

Docket No: B63 6519 31993

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: A series of acts, considered together, can establish a wilful disregard for the employer's interest and be disqualifying misconduct.

FACTS: Claimant was an employee from 1955 to his discharge in October, 1963. Claimant had been warned and placed on several disciplinary suspensions for being absent without cause, careless workmanship, abusive language, refusal to do assigned jobs, and tardiness. In May, 1963 he signed a "last chance" statement. Claimant was absent without notice on October 17, and 18, 1963. He reported to work on his next scheduled day and was discharged.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for misconduct under Section 29(1)(b).

RATIONALE: Claimant contends the referee erred in accepting the employer's records into evidence. The court held the documents were properly admitted. "[O]ther circumstances regarding the records, specifically lack of personal knowledge ... may be shown to affect its weight by not its admissibility."

The court found claimant's prior acts were not so remote or dissimilar to his last acts as to avoid disqualification: "We find no mandate that the incident ultimately resulting in discharge must be closely allied in time or tenor. There is no requirement they all be of the same nature or the same type of infraction of rules. Indeed, if we were to sum up the latitude to be permitted an employer in dealing with a recalcitrant employee who has consistently demonstrated disregard for the employer's interests, we might call it a "last straw" doctrine in which the final infraction, though unrelated to previous infractions, is of such a nature that it demonstrates conclusively the employee's utter disregard for the employer's interests."

NOTE: See Christophersen v Menominee, 137 Mich App 776 (1984) Digest page 12.07 for clarification of Giddens.



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