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Betts v Okun Brothers Shoes 12.81

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, False statement on employment application, Illiteracy

CITE AS: Betts v Okun Brothers Shoes, Kalamazoo Circuit Court No. E 94-3073-AE (April 14, 1995)

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Jimmy Betts

Employer: Okun Brothers Shoes

Docket No. B93-07727-129023W

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Failing to disclose criminal record information on an employment application, even if the application was completed by another person, demonstrates a wilful or wanton disregard for the employer's interest.

FACTS: The employer hired the claimant, relying on statements the claimant made in his employment application and personal interview. More than two years later, the employer had a security check done on all warehouse employees, including the claimant, due to problems with theft. The employer discharged the claimant after receiving the security report showing six different felony convictions before the claimant's date of hire. The claimant asserted he was illiterate and did not complete the employment application. The claimant asserted his girlfriend completed the application on his behalf, filled out the form on her own, and was unaware of his criminal record. The claimant admitted he did not inform the employer during the interview about his criminal record, and he did not intend to provide that information unless specifically asked.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for benefits under Section 29(1)(b).

RATIONALE: The claimant's failure to disclose his criminal record can "be interpreted as a conscious scheme to avoid providing that information to the prospective employer." The court noted that the claimant's argument "might be more compelling if his girlfriend had asked him various questions on the application form and inaccurately completed them, rather than just filling in the form on her own." "The obvious purpose of an employment application is to obtain truthful information about the applicant so the employer can make an informed decision about whether to hire the applicant. It is the potential employee's obligation to make sure that the application is accurate." The claimant is responsible for "false information provided to the employer even if the application was completed by someone else on his behalf."


24, 18, d22: N/A

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