MISCONDUCT, Alcoholism, Substance abuse program, Absences
CITE AS: General Motors Corp v Chaffer, No. 90-40210-AE-3, Saginaw Circuit Court (September 28, 1990).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Morris R. Chaffer
Employer: Saginaw Division, GMC
Docket No: B88 11350 110563
CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: An alcoholic with a history of chronic absenteeism who fails to take advantage of an available treatment program evidences a wilful disregard for the employer's interest.
FACTS: The claimant, an alcoholic, had an absentee rate of over 40%. The bulk of claimant's absences were alcohol related.
In an effort to address the claimant's difficulty the employer made available to him a substance abuse program. The claimant refused to participate and was consequently discharged.
DECISION: The claimant evidenced a wilful disregard for the employer's interest and was therefore disqualified for benefits under the misconduct provision of the MES Act, Section 29(1)(b).
RATIONALE: The court recognized that the claimant's absences were due to alcoholism and therefore beyond his control. Accordingly, those absences could not be considered disqualifying under Washington v Amway Grand Plaza, 135 Mich App 652 (1984). However, the court reasoned the claimant's failure to take advantage of an available substance abuse treatment program in order to address his alcoholism and the resulting absenteeism evidenced a substantial disregard for the employer's interest. Hence, the claimant was disqualified for benefits under the misconduct provision of the MES Act, Section 29(1)(b).
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