Refusal of Suitable Work
friend of mine who owns a small business recently informed me that things were picking
back up and he was in the process of calling back some of the employees he unfortunately
had to let go due to downsizing his staff. He
said he could not necessarily put employees back in the same job they had before,
but he did have positions available and felt he should offer these positions to his
former employees first. He mentioned
that he was somewhat concerned and somewhat frustrated in some cases because some
of the former employees were refusing his job offers.
asked me how the state unemployment agencies would view someone currently receiving
unemployment benefits and declining offers of work. Would
they still be eligible to receive benefits under state law? I
advised my friend that state laws really vary regarding what offers are considered
suitable work and what would be considered good cause for refusing them. Under
Federal Law, a state agency cannot deny an employee benefits based on refusal of work
if: (A) the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout, or other
labor dispute; (B) if the wages, hours, or other work conditions offered are substantially
less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the local
area; (C) if, as a condition of being employed the individual would be required to
join a company union, or resign or refrain from joining a bona fide labor organization.
state laws require agencies to consider other criteria including: the claimant’s prior
training, experience and earnings; the degree of risk to their health, safety, and
morals; the distance of the job from their residence; and even their length of unemployment.
suggested to my friend that his obligation as the employer would be to provide the
local unemployment office with any information regarding the offered work such as
return to work date, job title, job duties, the hours of work, wages, location, and
any detailed explanation given to him as a reason for refusal. In
doing so, the state agency would have sufficient information to make a determination
regarding whether or not the employee’s refusal was for good cause in accordance with
state law, and its impact on their eligibility.
Product Management, UC Services
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