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Rousseau v St. Mary's Medical Center of Saginaw 16.66

Sections 31,38

WAIVER OF BENEFITS, Scope of review, Voluntary leaving, Settlement agreement

CITE AS: Rousseau v St. Mary's Medical Center of Saginaw, unpublished per curiam Court of Appeals, June 27, 1997 (No. 191314).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Connie J. Rousseau

Employer: St. Mary's Medical Center of Saginaw

Docket No. B93-00440-126795

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: A settlement agreement between the claimant and the employer after the claimant's discharge providing the separation would be treated as a voluntary leaving does not change the nature of the separation for purposes of whether claimant is entitled to unemployment benefits. The claimant's leaving was not voluntary and to treat it as such would violate Section 31.

FACTS: The claimant was discharged for allegedly falsifying her time sheet on two occasions. Upon discharge claimant filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Subsequently, the parties entered into a settlement agreement of her claims which provided her employment record would be changed to indicate she left voluntarily. The employer contended that because the employment record was changed to indicate a voluntary resignation, the claimant was not entitled to unemployment benefits. The employer also contended Section 31 did not apply.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for benefits as she was discharged for reasons other than misconduct.

RATIONALE: The court stated:

[A]n agreement to voluntarily terminate employment that is entered into prior to the termination of employment does not constitute a waiver of rights to benefits such that the agreement is invalid. . . . However, . . . the parties' agreement here was not entered into prior to the termination of Rousseau's employment and did not provide that she would voluntarily resign. Rather, this agreement was entered into after she was discharged and provided that in exchange for her agreement not to bring certain claims, plaintiff would change her file to indicate that she had voluntarily resigned. This agreement did not change the fact that Rousseau was involuntarily discharged, thus §31 applies. Even if this agreement required Rousseau to waive her right to unemployment benefits, such a provision would be invalid under §31.

The court also observed that under §38 a circuit court may, as justice requires, review all issues considered by the Board of Review, not only those issues raised by the parties.


22,24: F

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