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Towns v Smeltzer Enterprises 12.93

Section 29(1)(b)


CITE AS: Towns v Smeltzer Enterprises, Wayne Circuit Court No. 98-804170-AE (August 27, 1998).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Carol M. Towns

Employer: Smeltzer Enterprises

Docket No. B97-11143-146293W

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Per Broyles v Aeroquip Corp, 176 Mich App 175, 179 (1989), the context in which the comment is made must be examined. Specifically, "whether the words were directed at a fellow employee, supervisor, or a customer, whether the tone in context suggests an abusive intent or friendly badgering, whether the comments were made in private conversation or in the presence of others, and whether such conduct had been condoned in the past."

FACTS: The claimant was discharged for arguing and using profanity during a confrontation with a co-worker and later when a supervisor intervened to defuse the situation. Shop rules provided that profanity directed at fellow employees or management constituted a major rule infraction and could result in dismissal. Notably, there had been a prior similar incident between the claimant and her co-worker.

DECISION: The claimant was disqualified under Section 29(1)(b).

RATIONALE: The claimant admitted she used profanity and refused the direct order of her supervisor. Her vulgar language alone would have supported the Board's finding of misconduct. When this profanity was combined with a refusal to cooperate with her supervisor, the Board's finding of misconduct was well established and could not be found contrary to law.


21, 16, d22: J

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