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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Voluntarily Quit for "Good Cause", But UI Benefits Denied

    My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: California

    Hi all,
    I voluntarily quit from my job as a waiter in late March after my boss at the restaurant told me on a couple of occasions that he was no longer comfortable with my work there as a waiter, and that he did have occasional work available for me as a busboy or as a host.

    Since joining the restaurant in February, I got along well with everyone, performed no misconduct, and made a 100% effort every shift. However, this is a very high-end restaurant, they have very high standards, and I understand they have every right to make their own decisions regarding hiring and firing.

    Yet, as this was the only option I had (working less shifts as a busser), and the move away from being a waiter represented a significant drop in wages and tips, I finally put in my voluntary quit notice.

    Earnings at a restaurant vary nightly, but at most restaurants (including this one) bussers make significantly less than waiters. The numbers change nightly, but the pay scale ratio is a constant.
    Here, like at other places, on a per shift basis, the busser earns from 30-40% less in tips. The minimum wages are the same, but with both bussers and waiters the minimum wage represents a very small portion of one's take-home pay.

    The EDD denied my claim, saying the drop in wages was not substantial, even though in my eyes it was clearly far more than the 20% reduction necessary in California law to guarantee voluntary quit "good cause" eligibility.

    I will be writing my appeal to be sent to them, which they review to see if the right decision was made. If they don't change their mind in 20 days, they send it on to appeals for a legitimate appeal, which would probably happen sometime in 2012!

    Any advice here, on how I should go about writing this appeal? Is there a way for me to prove to them just how people get paid at this restaurant? I could get pay-stubs for every waiter and every busser for one single night to show the very large difference between the averages of the two?

    Thanks for any who have any ideas about my particular situation! I fel they just haven't been able to look clearly at the pay system; if they had they would see that the option my former boss gave me was a major drop in pay.

    Frustrated in CA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,491

    Default Re: UI "Voluntary Quit- Good Cause" Benefits Denied/Appeal Advice

    So you think that the state should pay you to quit so that you have NO income instead of SOME income?

    Do you realize that UI would probably be less than the pay reduction?

  3. #3

    Default Re: UI "Voluntary Quit- Good Cause" Benefits Denied/Appeal Advice

    Seems like the question is whether you have to accept any position offered by the employer, even one radically different than the one you were hired for. Could I hire a doctor at my hospital and then reassign him to work as a cook in the kitchen? I doubt that. It seems like they were trying to force you to quit by changing the circumstances of your employment radically. Research the rules under which you are allowed a voluntary quit in CA. Most states do define limited circumstances under which you can quit justifiably. This might be one of them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,491

    Default Re: UI "Voluntary Quit- Good Cause" Benefits Denied/Appeal Advice

    What the poster should have done was stayed on the job at the reduced position and applied for partial benefits to make up some of the difference. Most if not all states will provide benefits in that situation.

    However, as already indicated, quitting so that you have no income instead of some income will rarely if ever be a qualifier. If this were a qualifying reason, it is doubtful that he would have been declined in the first place.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: UI "Voluntary Quit- Good Cause" Benefits Denied/Appeal Advice

    Agree with cbg - he should have stayed on the job & applied for partial UI benefits.

    He can certainly appeal though & see what happens.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,344

    Default Re: Voluntarily Quit for "Good Cause", But UI Benefits Denied

    However, as already indicated, quitting so that you have no income instead of some income will rarely if ever be a qualifier. If this were a qualifying reason, it is doubtful that he would have been declined in the first place.
    The interviewer at your telephone interview may have made a mistake. Point out the relevant facts at your appeal and it may well be overturned. State law determines the circumstances under which a claimant may legitimately quit voluntarily and still be eligible for benefits. They don't always get it right the first time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,491

    Default Re: Voluntarily Quit for "Good Cause", But UI Benefits Denied

    It's unlikely in this situation. There can certainly be room for more than one opinion as to whether an individual qualifies when it comes to an employee being involuntarily terminated. But when an employee voluntarily quits, it's usually pretty black and white; either he quit for a qualifying reason or he didn't. Unemployment is geared in favor of the employee; the UI office is not in the habit of declining benefits when an employee quits for a qualifying reason.

    I'm not saying he shouldn't appeal - it never hurts to appeal. Just that he shouldn't count on prevailing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,344

    Default Re: Voluntarily Quit for "Good Cause", But UI Benefits Denied

    It's unlikely in this situation.
    On what basis do you say this? I have seen many mistakes made by first-level employees in state unemployment agencies. I don't know California intimately, but the OP seems to indicate that there was a demotion involving a pay cut of more than 20%. I see this referred to in section 9 of this guide: http://www.las-elc.com/UnempInsuranceElgAftQuitJob.pdf

    It states, in part:

    If an employer substantially lowers an employee's rate of pay, that employee will normally have good cause to quit and collect benefits so long as she tried to convince her employer not to reduce her wage. A "substantial reduction" in pay is normally a reduction of 20% or more, which means and employee who sees her wage go from $12 an hour to $9 an hyour or sees her salary go from $1500 a month to $1200 a month will have good cause to quit."
    This guide is published by the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco. It may be that the referee of the original telephone interview ignored this provision of the law in error. Or, there could be more to it than is being discussed here. However, those who say that an employee must accept a pay decrease rather than quit may be right in their home states, but California does not appear to have this provision. Therefore, if that is in fact the case, i would expect this person absolutely to win on appeal. A call to the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco might help get better prepared for the appeal process.

    If someone has a better reference to demonstrate I'm missing something on this I'd very much appreciate a link to it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,491

    Default Re: Voluntarily Quit for "Good Cause", But UI Benefits Denied

    On the basis of my own experience. And I don't see where the poster says anything about trying to convince the employer not to reduce his wages.

    Look, if I thought there was NO chance, I'd be telling the poster not to bother appealing. But telling the poster that he's sure to win on appeal because MAYBE the claim adjuster made a mistake is not helpful either.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Voluntarily Quit for "Good Cause", But UI Benefits Denied

    Since we don't make the decision, I agree that it is not a good idea to tell the poster that you expect them to absolutely win on appeal.

    Poster, all you can do is appeal & see what happens.

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