MISCONDUCT, Conflict of interest
CITE AS: Elsey v Burger King Corporation, No. 106068 (Mich App July 28, 1989); lv den 434 Mich 883 (1990).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Terry Elsey
Employer: Burger King Corporation
Docket No: B86 08979 103499W
COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Refusal to sign and abide by a policy to avert conflicts of interest in misconduct within the meaning of Section 29(1)(b) of the Act.
FACTS: Claimant was hired as an accounting coordinator, but during the last three years of employment, worked as a systems analyst, primarily with point-of-sale companies in the employer's restaurants. While employed, claimant on an independent basis also helped set up computer systems for franchisees, some of which were similar to that of the employer's. The employer knew that claimant was doing this for two years and allowed it as long as claimant received waivers from franchisees stating that he was not working for the employer when providing such services.
The claimant was advised to discontinue his outside business and given a letter which listed nine points illustrating violations of ethical standards. These included employment in any capacity by a customer or franchisee of the employer and accepting gifts, compensation or benefits from a customer or franchisee. Claimant was advised he would be discharged unless he would sign and abide by the terms of the letter. Claimant refused to sign stating that the word "customer" might include someone who might purchase food from the employer. The employer agreed to delete the word "customer" but claimant still refused to sign the letter stating its language was too broad. The claimant was discharged.
DECISION: The claimant was discharged for work connected misconduct.
RATIONALE: The employer had a clear interest in maintaining the confidentiality and exclusivity of its computer system and information contained therein. The claimant was only required to do what another person in a similar position of trust or responsibility would be required to do.