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Williams v Hughes Plastics, Inc 12.98

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT, Insubordination, Job description, Evidence, Objections, Burden of proof, Witnesses

CITE AS: Williams v Hughes Plastics, Inc., Berrien Circuit Court No. 86-3082-AE-Z (December 10, 1987).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Karen M. Williams

Employer: Hughes Plastics, Inc.

Docket No. B86-03599-102599W

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Repeated refusal to do part of an employee's job is insubordination and disqualifying misconduct even if the duty is not specified in the job description.

FACTS: Claimant worked as a janitor. It was undisputed the claimant twice refused to shovel snow when directed to do so. The claimant believed it was not part of her duties. When she objected the first time she was told shoveling snow was part of her duties and in the future she would have to perform this duty. She refused again and was fired.

DECISION: The claimant is disqualified under Section 29(1)(b) of the Michigan Employment Security Act.

RATIONALE: The claimant's "outright refusal, absent evidence of an inability or incapacity to perform, shows a willful disregard of the employer's interests." The claimant "had an obligation to her employer to at least try to do that what was expected of her or risk the consequences." "The finding was not dependent upon a written job description... . In the workplace, the employer has a right to expect its employees to carry out reasonable assignments whether it's specifically mentioned in the job description or not."

The claimant asserted on appeal the Referee erred in allowing into the record hearsay evidence. The court found "[o]bjections to the admissibility of evidence not raised at the hearing cannot be later asserted on appeal or considered by this Court. Marietta v Cliffs Ridge, Inc., 385 Mich App 364 (1971)."

The employer was not obligated to call as a witness the plant manager. The claimant asserted the plant manager told her that shoveling snow was not part of her job. While the burden of proving misconduct rests with the employer, there is no "rule which obliges an employer to produce particular employees as witnesses, either to establish its position or on behalf of claimant."


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