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James River Paper Co. v Clopton 12.95

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, Connected with work, Felony

CITE AS: James River Paper Co. v Clopton, unpublished per curiam Court of Appeals May 6, 1993 (No. 143610).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Leon Clopton

Employer: James River Paper Co.

Docket No. B89-02593-111600

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, a felony conviction for off-duty drug trafficking constitutes work connected misconduct.

FACTS: Claimant was discharged following a felony conviction for off-duty delivery of a controlled substance. The discharge was in accordance with the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for work connected misconduct.

RATIONALE: The court stated:

Conduct occurring outside the workplace may, depending on the conduct, be sufficiently connected to work and sufficiently involve the employer's interests as to constitute misconduct to warrant disqualification for unemployment benefits. See Parks v Employment Security Comm, 427 Mich 224, 239; 398 NW2d 275 (1986). In the case at bar, we believe that the employer's interests are sufficiently involved to warrant a conclusion that claimant's conduct constituted misconduct even though his conviction may have arisen from activity which occurred away from the workplace. ...

Second, given the nature of claimant's conviction in this case, we find the employer's interests also adversely affected. An employer certainly has an interest in maintaining a drug-free workplace and to minimize the dangers presented by employee drug use. It is consistent with those interests to preclude from employment those individuals who are known drug dealers. While claimant's conviction was for activity which occurred off the premises, he clearly represented a danger to plaintiff's interests in bringing drugs onto the workplace. Therefore, violation of the collective bargaining agreement by engaging in illegal drug trafficking affects the employer's interests and further constitutes misconduct within the meaning of the act.


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