MISCONDUCT, Absences and tardiness, Credibility
CITE AS: Hale v Aetna Industries, Inc., No. 101931 (Mich App May 8, 1989).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Richard Hale
Employer: Aetna Industries
Docket No: B84 08736 97718W
COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Frequent and unexcused absenteeism over a relatively short period of time may constitute misconduct.
FACTS: Employer had a progressive disciplinary procedure for dealing with habitual absenteeism. Based upon a number of unexcused absences, claimant reached the 3rd and final step of termination after being absent 3 times without an acceptable excuse in March 1984. On March 10, 1984, claimant failed to appear to work mandatory Saturday overtime. He had been on a disciplinary lay off the preceding week but came to the plant to pick up his check on Friday, March 9th. He claimed that an unidentified individual in personnel told him there was no mandatory overtime on Saturday. That testimony was disputed by the employer's witnesses. Claimant said his car battery died on Monday, March 12 and as a result he did not work that day. He did not provide any documentation to support his explanation. On March 23, claimant's son called in to say claimant was ill. Claimant did not see a doctor. Pursuant to the employer's attendance policy claimant was fired in April 1984 for having 3 unexcused absences during March. The Referee found the employer's testimony to be more credible than claimant's.
DECISION: Claimant was discharged for disqualifying misconduct within the meaning of Section 29(1(b) of the MES Act.
RATIONALE: Claimant's testimony was found not credible by the trier of fact as to the three absences which precipitated his discharge. Claimant had clearly been put on notice of employee's interest and concern relative to his attendance by means of the previous discipline imposed. A reviewing court should not disturb the credibility finding of the fact-finder absent corroborating evidence to the contrary.