How to Win an Unemployment Hearing if you Quit
If you recently quit your job, you are probably wondering if you can collect unemployment benefits. Most people believe that if they quit, they are not eligible for unemployment benefits because it was their choice to quit. In some cases, if an individual quits his/her job for personal reasons (i.e., wants to spend more time with their kids), he/she may not be eligible for benefits. However, if an individual is forced to quit his/her job for reasons outside their control, he/she may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
If you quit, Section 402(b) of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law (“Law”) governs whether you will be eligible for benefits. When trying to obtain benefits under 402(b) of the Law, you (not your Employer) have the burden of proving that you quit your job for “necessitous and compelling reasons.” Therefore, when you go into your Unemployment Referee Hearing, you must prove you quit for “necessitous and compelling reasons” in order to obtain unemployment benefits.
What does “necessitous and compelling” mean?
Section 402(b) of Law specially states that:
An employee shall be ineligible for compensation for any week in which his unemployment is due to voluntarily leaving work without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature, irrespective of whether or not such work is in “employment” as defined in this Act. 43 P .S. § 802(b) (emphasis added).
Necessitous and compelling reason is a general term. Basically, if you have to quit for a reason that was outside your control, you will likely be eligible for benefits. An employee’s medical problems can constitute a “necessitous and compelling reason” for quitting where the employee is unable, either physically or emotionally, to continue working. However, the decision to quit because of your medical problems must be made in good faith.
Domestic, filial, and marital circumstances may constitute a “necessitous and compelling reason” to quit. What is encompassed under domestic, filial and marital circumstances?
1. Childcare – if you have problems obtaining childcare and you quit for that reason, you may be eligible for benefits under 402(b) of the Law
2. Martial problems – if your spouse had compelling reason to live in a life care facility and you quit to relocate with them, you may be eligible for benefits under 402(b) of the Law
3. “Follow the spouse” – if your spouse finds a new job in another area and you quit your job to join your relocated spouse, you may be eligible for benefits under 402(b) of the Law
It is important to remember that these are just some examples of situations that may constitute a “necessitous and compelling reason” to quit.
Working conditions can also constitute a “necessitous and compelling reason” for quitting. A substantial and unilateral change in the terms and conditions of your employment (i.e., change in hours, pay or job duties) can constitute a “necessitous and compelling reason” to quit. Unreasonably dangerous work conditions, which could jeopardize an employee’s health, can constitute “necessitous and compelling reasons.”
The conduct of your employer, supervisor or co-workers can create a “necessitous and compelling reason” for quitting. If you are subject to harassment or any type of discrimination, you may have a “necessitous and compelling reason” for quitting your job and may be found eligible for benefits under 402(b) of the Law.
If you quit due to transportation problems, it may constitute a “necessitous and compelling reason” under 402(b) of the Law. An unreasonable distance to work and/or increase in work-related travel expenses due to the relocation of the employer’s business may constitute good cause.
As previously stated, these are just examples of what constitutes a “necessitous and compelling reasons” for quitting. Even if you fall into one of these examples, it doesn’t mean you will be found eligible for benefits under 402(b) of the Law. But if you go into a Referee Hearing and are able to demonstrate to the Referee that you quit for one of the above reasons, you are on your way to proving you should be eligible for unemployment benefits.