AVAILABILITY, First Amendment, Religious conviction, United States Constitution, Wednesday night observance, Worship services
CITE AS: Winstead v ESC, No. 79 17067 AE, Washtenaw Circuit Court (February 19, 1980)
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Mary Winstead
Employer: Michigan Employment Security Commission
Docket No: B76 18265 57846 et al
CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Insistence on time off to attend Wednesday night church services does not make a claimant unavailable for work.
FACTS: "In each of these decisions, the Board of Review affirmed decisions of referees which had held, in effect, that Ms. Winstead had not been 'available to perform suitable full-time work' within the meaning of the statute by reason of her insistence on attending Wednesday night worship services held by her church."
DECISION: The claimant is available for work.
RATIONALE: "The MESC decisions below do not square with Sherbert v Vernor, 374 U.S. 398, 83 S. Ct. 1790, 10 L. ed. 2d 965 (1963), and therefore are violative of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The decisions are also contrary to Swenson v MESC, 340 Mich 430, 65 NW2d 709 (1954), where the Michigan Supreme Court held that Seventh Day Adventists who could not work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday were 'available for work' within the meaning of the statute. The decisions are thus contrary to the law of this state as well as the Constitution of the United States."