MISCONDUCT, After-acquired evidence
CITE AS: Children's Hospital of Michigan v Craddock, unpublished per curiam Court of Appeals, May 19, 1998 (No. 201014)
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Patricia Craddock
Employer: Children's Hospital of Michigan
Docket No. B94-02013-131071
COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The plain meaning of Section 29(1)(b) limits the misconduct disqualification to conduct that formed the basis for the discharge.
FACTS: The employer discharged the claimant on October 4, 1993, for excessive tardiness and absenteeism. Four days later, the employer discovered that important computer files had been deleted the early morning of September 21, 1993. The employer concluded the claimant was responsible for deleting the records since she was the only employee on the premises with access to the records at that time.
DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for benefits under Section 29(1)(b).
RATIONALE: The claimant's absences were due to illness, and not disqualifying. The employer did not discover the deleted computer files until after discharging the claimant. Deletion of the computer files was not a factor in the employer's decision to discharge the claimant. The employer argued the "after-acquired" evidence doctrine was applicable. The court noted that Section 29(1)(b) "plainly provides for disqualification from benefits for those discharged for misconduct connected with the individual's work." The court found that the "legislature is presumed to have intended the meaning it plainly expressed." The misconduct disqualification is limited to "conduct that formed the basis for the discharge. ...To broaden the misconduct disqualification to include allegations that did not bear on the decision to discharge the employee would be to fail to construe the disqualification narrowly, and to fail to respect the plain meaning of the words used."
21, 22: H