February 2018 Briefly: An Unemployment Case Analysis
Case Analysis: When a Claimant Quits Without Good Cause
The claimant resigned after being informed her job would end at a future date. She was disqualified from benefits upon a finding that she quit without good cause. The claimant appealed, and a hearing was scheduled before an administrative law judge.
At The Hearing
The Claimant’s Evidence: The claimant testified that she left her job to have time to look for work and due to the cost of child care. She testified that she was told that the company was closing in two months, and she would be laid off at that time. The claimant wanted to take time to look for another position. The claimant testified that the cost of child care factored into her decision as well. She was able to take time off work to attend job fairs and interviews, but the time she would have to take away from work was not paid. That factor affected her ability to pay for day care. The claimant testified that she was unable to look for work in the evenings and on weekends because she did not have a computer and because she needed to care for her child. She did not have any offers of other employment prior to leaving work.
The Employer’s Evidence: The employer testified that the claimant was informed that her job would end at a future date, and that the claimant was also informed that she would be allowed to take time away from work when necessary so that she could attend job fairs and attend interviews. The employer testified that the claimant had informed the employer when she left work that she had another position and was leaving for that reason.
The Hearing Decision
The administrative law judge (ALJ) found that the claimant quit without good cause and she was disqualified from benefits. The ALJ found that, although the claimant had been told that her job would end on a future date, continuing work was available at the time she left. The claimant’s reasons for leaving did not rise to the level of good cause connected with the work. The claimant was specifically told that she would be able to take time to search for work, and the claimant’s child care costs were not so onerous as to compel her to leave work. The claimant appealed, arguing that she had no choice other than to leave work, and her reasons rose to the level of good cause to quit.
The Board of Review Decision
The Board of Review (Board) agreed with the ALJ’s Decision and the claimant remained disqualified. The Board found that the ALJ’s Decision was fully supported by the facts and the law. The claimant was not laid off, she left with continuing work available. Additionally, the claimant failed to prove that she left with good cause, as employees are generally expected to keep working while searching for other work.
- Leaving prior to a future layoff date may be considered a voluntary quit and not a layoff. The deciding factor in whether a separation is a layoff or a voluntary quit is generally whether the claimant could have continued working until a future date of separation. Be prepared to prove that the claimant was aware that the work was not immediately ending, but would end on a future date. The claimant will have to prove good cause for leaving to be allowed benefits without disqualification. If the claimant had remained on the job until the date of layoff, she would most likely have been allowed benefits in this case.
- States may disqualify claimants who leave work in order to search for other work. Unless the work has become so unbearable that it would have compelled a reasonable person to leave work immediately, states may determine to not allow benefits to someone who is leaving work to look for other work. If the claimant had secured another position prior to leaving work, and the new position fell through, she might have been allowed benefits.
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