VOLUNTARY LEAVING, Good cause, Religious beliefs, Abortion
CITE AS: Meyers v Northwest OB-GYN Assoc., P.C., No. 84-281749-AE, Oakland Circuit Court (July 22, 1986).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Patricia D. Meyers
Employer: Northwest OB-GYN Assoc., P.C.
Docket No: B83 17579 93897W
CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Claimant did not establish good cause for voluntary leaving where she objected to the employer's practice of performing abortions because of her religious beliefs, but continued to work for a year, and the employer attempted to accommodate her beliefs.
FACTS: Claimant was employed as a medical assistant. At the time of hire abortions were performed at another employer location and claimant expressed a willingness to assist. By the time that procedure was started at claimant's work location she had experienced a change in religious committment, and when asked if she would assist, she declined for religious reasons. In order to avoid conflicts with claimant's beliefs the employer attempted to work around the situation. Those efforts included bringing in another employee on an ad hoc basis to assist, as well as adjusting patient schedules and other staff schedules. On three occasions claimant did assist with abortions when no one else was available. After a year of this arrangement the claimant apprised the employer the situation was "not working out". A separation followed, though the parties disputed how the departure date was determined.
DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for voluntary leaving.
RATIONALE: The circuit court affirmed a split (5-2) decision by the full Board of Review. The court found the employer could employ the claimant in a way that did not conflict with her religious beliefs and in fact took "extreme measures" including adjustment of employee schedules to accommodate those beliefs. Claimant worked for a year under those circumstances and, in light of the disputed separation date, was willing to work longer. As a result the court concluded claimant's "religious beliefs were not in such conflict with her employment duties that she was forced to resign."
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