Voluntary Quits and Awarding of Unemployment Benefits
some more great advice from our Client Relationship Team:
may believe that all instances in which an employee quits disqualify the claimant
from unemployment benefits. While most quits, especially for non-compelling reasons,
are disqualifying there are significant exceptions. The former employee has the “burden
of proof” and, in order to obtain benefits, must prove that he or she voluntarily
quit with “good cause” attributable to the employment/employer such as a substantial
change in pay, working conditions, etc. Some states have broader “good cause” definitions
as well–allowing benefits for quits for certain compelling personal reasons which
leave the claimant with no reasonable alternative.
cause is generally established when work-related conditions have substantially deteriorated
or a situation exists that would force a reasonable person who is otherwise interested
in remaining employed to nonetheless leave the job. Careful reporting and documentation
of voluntary quits is vital to effective control of unwarranted claims. The following
details what typically may and may not constitute good cause, but employers must be
aware that this is an area in which the states vary greatly.
Which May Not Constitute Good Cause
for other work, e.g., career change
at home with children
abandonment–no call no show for three or more days
That May Constitute Good Cause for Leaving*
cause for quitting may exist if an employer substantially breaches a contract or agreement
of employment or terms of hire such as the reasons listed below. Usually the change
must be deemed detrimental to the claimant’s interests. Appropriate disciplinary notices
or suspensions do not normally provide good cause for quitting.
or adverse changes in terms of hire, e.g.,
in hours or pay
in duties causing a loss of skills. Demotion or loss of responsibility
in worksite, assuming employee hardship, unless it was understood at the time of hire
that the employee would be required to work at different job sites
of wage and hour laws such as denial of a lunch break without a written waiver from
Department of Labor
of harassment or discrimination
conditions detrimental to health or safety
Good cause for quitting in some of the above cases may not exist if an employee accepts
the changes for a significant period of time.
which May Constitute Good Cause – Personal Reasons
for medical reasons, for example doctor’s advice to move to another climate
for dependent parent or child
to follow a spouse who transferred elsewhere or is in the military
the Employer in Voluntary Quit Cases
in discharge issues, the key protection for employers in a voluntary quit situation
is documentation. Employers should take care to obtain, if possible, a letter of resignation
and/or conduct an exit interview documenting reasons for a quit. Employers should
attempt to find out exactly why an employee is quitting. Documentation should be signed
and dated and note the employee’s last day of intended work. If an employee is leaving
because of an alleged problem on the job, document the background details and attempts,
if any, to find a solution, e.g. the offer of a transfer or leave of absence. An employer
should be prepared to present facts to show the claimant did not have good cause to
quit or evidence that the reason the claimant gave for quitting is not factually correct.
The employer may need to show that they have attempted to resolve the situation with
the employee, i.e., alternatives were available to the employee prior to resignation.
quit in lieu of discharge is not a voluntary quit; it is a discharge since continuing
work was not available.
This weblog is sponsored by TALX.
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