MISCONDUCT, Connected with work, Drug usage, Off duty
CITE AS: Johnson v Kent County, Kent Circuit Court, No. 92-76078-AE (August 17, 1992).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Bryant Johnson
Employer: Kent County
Docket No. B89-01223-118113W
CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A guard at a juvenile detention center who admitted he used cocaine at home committed work connected misconduct.
FACTS: Claimant worked as a guard at a county juvenile detention center. He was employed by the Juvenile Court. The claimant sought in-patient treatment for cocaine dependence. The employer agreed to retain the claimant as an employee if he would adhere to a rehabilitation program. The claimant agreed and signed a last chance agreement and was reinstated after completing treatment. Six months later claimant was fired as a result of a random drug test which was positive for cocaine. The claimant admitted he had used cocaine at home a couple days before the test.
DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for work connected misconduct.
RATIONALE: The court applied Bowns v Port Huron, 146 Mich App 69(1985) lv app den 424 Mich 899(1986) and found the off duty illegal conduct of an officer of the court was work connected misconduct. The court found at page 2 as follows:
Having an employee who is using a substance the acquisition and use of which is always illegal, especially, an employee whose job brings him in constant and close contact with troubled children, poses a very serious risk of undermining the credibility of the Juvenile Court in the public eye, thereby jeopardizing public acceptance of its philosophy of treating children not just warehousing and punishing children. Without that acceptance, that Court cannot function. ...[C]laimant's misconduct risked more than embarrassing his employer; it risked severely compromising the employer's interests.
3, 12, d14: N/A