DENIAL PERIOD, Academic Year, Delayed school opening, Unjust enrichment
CITE AS: Rogel v Taylor School District, 152 Mich App 418 (1986)
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ann Rogel, et al
Employer: Taylor School District
Docket No: B81 88405 87051
COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The employer cannot unilaterally alter the definition of the academic year set by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement merely for budgeting reasons.
FACTS: Claimants' union and the employer negotiated a collective bargaining agreement requiring the school year to commence on September 1, 1981. Because of financial problems created by millage defeats, employer postponed the start of the school year until September 28, 1981. The employer continued the school year through June 1982 for a period equal to the time lost at the beginning of the year.
DECISION: Claimants entitled to benefits pursuant to Section 27(i)(1) and (4) when the employer unilaterally delays the start of the academic year for budgetary considerations.
RATIONALE: "Seizing on the phrase 'as defined by the educational institution,' the school district now argues that the 1981-1982 school year should be defined under Section 27(i)(4) as beginning on September 28. Acceptance of that argument would mean that a school district could unilaterally change the beginning and ending dates of the school year at any time without its employees being able to collect unemployment benefits. Such an interpretation would defeat the purpose of the MESA, which was intended to soften the economic burden of those who through no fault of their own, find themselves unemployed. See General Motors Corp. v Erves (On Rehearing), 399 Mich 241, 252; 249 NW2d 41 (1976); MCL 421.2; MSA 17.502. The school year was defined by contract as beginning September 1. When claimants did not start work on September 1, their period of unemployment began not in a 'period between successive academic years,' but rather during an academic year. The denial period did not apply."