June 2017 Briefly: An Unemployment Case Analysis

unemployment case management

Background

The claimant quit voluntarily after she was informed that her work would end on a future date.  She was disqualified from benefits upon a finding that she quit without good cause connected with the work.  The claimant appealed, and a hearing was scheduled before an administrative law judge.

At The Hearing

The Claimant’s Evidence:  The claimant, a substitute teacher working at a long-term assignment, testified that she was hired to teach for a semester.  Prior to the end of the semester, the employer informed her that she would not be hired into that position permanently.  The claimant stopped working immediately.
The Employer’s Evidence: The employer’s witness testified that the claimant was a substitute teacher hired for a long-term assignment to teach math.  The claimant was informed prior to the end of the semester that she would not be hired permanently into that position.  The claimant was told that she could continue teaching her classes until the end of the semester.  She was also informed that after the end of the semester, the claimant could continue substitute teaching.  The claimant declined to work until the end of the semester, and stopped reporting for work.

The Hearing Decision

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that the claimant quit voluntarily without good cause connected with the work. The ALJ found that the claimant had continuing work available to her, at least through the end of the semester.  Her decision to leave immediately was a voluntary resignation.  The claimant offered no evidence to support a finding of good cause to quit, and failed to contact her employer to determine if other long-term options were available, so she was disqualified from benefits.  The claimant disagreed and appealed, arguing that she was discharged when she was informed that she was not hired into the permanent position.

The Board of Review Decision

The Board of Review (The Board) agreed with the ALJ’s decision and the claimant remained disqualified from benefits.  The Board found that the ALJ’s decision was reasonably based on the record of evidence.  The claimant quit voluntarily with continuing work available, and presented no evidence that she’d quit with good cause connected with the work.

Takeaways

  1. In an unemployment hearing scheduled to determine if the claimant should be disqualified based on the nature of the separation, the first finding that must be made is the nature of the separation.  Laws in each state provide that if an employee quits or is discharged for a disqualifying reason, the claimant may not collect unemployment benefits, at least for a period of time.  There are certain separations that the state could find as quits or discharges based on the facts of the case.  Determining factors could be whether continuing work was available, and whether the claimant attempted to continue working.
  2. A claimant who is notified of a future layoff could be disqualified if she leaves prior to the scheduled last day of work.   The determining factor is usually whether there is work between the date of notification and the date the claimant is given as her last day of work.  If a claimant chooses to leave prior to a future date of separation, the case will usually be adjudicated as a voluntary quit and the claimant must prove good cause to leave work in order to be entitled to benefits.   In this case, the claimant had work through the end of the semester which she chose to not complete.  The employer was able to prove that continuing work was available, and that the claimant elected to stop working immediately instead of teach until the end of the semester.  The claimant’s decision meant the separation became a quit instead of a lack of work under state law, and the claimant was then required to prove that she failed to continue through the end of the semester for reasons which could be considered good cause.  *Please note:  some states could look at this separation differently.

To learn how Equifax can help your organization with unemployment claims management, contact Pete Krieshok at pete.krieshok@equifax.com.

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About Peg Elofson

Peg oversees our Unemployment Hearing Consultants. She has more than 15 years of experience in the unemployment industry, with particular focus in unemployment appeals. Her experience includes account management, hearing representation, and Board of Review appeals. Peg joined Equifax through the acquisition of TALX Corporation in 2007. She holds BSBA and JD degrees from Creighton University.