Section: 28(1)(c) and 29(1)(e)
REFUSAL OF WORK, Good cause, Eligibility, Ability, Last job
CITE AS: Henry Ford Health System v Morin, Macomb Circuit Court, No. 2000-1462-AE (January 2, 2001)
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Anne E. Morin
Employer: Henry Ford Health System
Docket No. B1999-02088-RM1-152194W
CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where claimant’s refusal of offered work did not indicate an unwillingness to work, but demonstrated a “reasonable concern for her immediate health and safety and adherence to her physician’s directives,” she is not disqualified under Section 29(1)(e). A claimant is not required to be able and available to perform her last job under 28(1)(c).
FACTS: Claimant worked as a full-time patient care counselor in employer’s psychiatric hospital. Claimant took a medical leave of absence due to stress and anxiety in February, 1998 brought on by two incidents with violent patients. Claimant was also concerned for her safety due to staff shortages. Claimant’s physician released her to return to work in September, 1998 without restrictions. In November employer offered claimant a position as a full-time patient care counselor in the same facility and same capacity she worked in before the leave of absence. Claimant declined the offer asserting the position would jeopardize her health and safety. In December claimant’s physician submitted a medical statement to the Agency indicating that claimant could work as a patient care counselor but not in the same work environment.
DECISION: Claimant is eligible and not disqualified for benefits.
RATIONALE: Accepting employer’s offer would have “compelled claimant to disregard her doctor’s advice.” In light of her doctor’s statement, and claimant’s strong belief returning to the same work would jeopardize her health and safety, claimant had good cause to refuse employer’s offer under 29(1)(e).
Section 28(1)(c) “does not mandate that a claimant must be able to perform his last job, but only that he is able and available to perform full-time work for which he has previously received wages.” Claimant’s doctor’s statement allowed claimant to work as a patient care counselor in a different environment. Claimant sought work as a social worker, “work of a character generally similar to” work as a patient care counselor.