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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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This is question from employer. Can employer change Job

Customer Question

This is question from employer. Can employer change Job Description for an employee? When this employee is dissatisfied with such mandatory change and quits: Is she/he eligible for unemployment benefits? Does she/he have any ground for a lawsuit for forcing
mandatory Job Description change? A hypothetical example: a person was hired for graphic designer but 1. due to lack of work on that station person is being relocated to say customer service. 2. due to that employees deteriorating graphic design work performance
employer feels he would be better fit for customer service position. In those 2 scenarios the Job Description is somewhat similar (office environment, work with computers). It would not transferring graphic designer to say a delivery person etc. Summary question:
Is employer facing any lawsuits or exposure to unemployment benefit cost?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

The general rule is that employment in the state of NJ is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated or modified for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even true. It also doesn't matter whether the employee had a specific job description--job descriptions have no legal force or effect unless that specific job is guaranteed for a set period of time.

Now, as for whether the employee would be eligible for UI benefits if they quit due to a change in their job, the answer is "maybe." It depends on whether the State finds that the change in job duties was so significant that no reasonable person genuinely desirous of remaining employed woulf have done so. For example, if someone was hired as a manager and then gets demoted to janitor, they would likely be eligible for unemployment benefits because no reasonable person would accept that change. The example you give is a little less clear, and ultimately it's impossible to predict what will happen since these things are judged on a case by case basis.

Generally, it's best to accept the change in duties and quit only once you've secured alternative employment. That way you don't have to take the risk that you will be denied benefits and have no way to support yourself. Also, it is generally easier to find a job when you are already employed. It has something to do with employers wanting to hire those whom they perceive to be "in demand." Still, the choice would be yours to make if you feel you can argue that no reasonable person would accept this change in job duties.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I just wanted to followup with you to make sure that you did not have any further questions or concerns. For some unknown reason, the experts are not always getting replies or ratings (which is how we get credit for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not yet received either. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the site administrator.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed.

Very best wishes.