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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11728
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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What is considered abandonment from work?

Customer Question

What is considered abandonment from work?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Do you happen to know if there was any written policy in regards XXXXX XXXXX constitutes job abandonment with the employer? And how long did you leave temporarily?

Customer:

does in the handbook state item # XXXXX leaving the job or taking alternate routes without authorization.

ScottyMacEsq :

And how long did you leave temporarily?

Customer:

less than an 1hour and 15min. and I returned

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you. Do you happen to know if your written employment policies say anything about being terminated "for cause" or anything about "at will" employment?

Customer:

my handbook does state at will but the lady was not my supervisor at the time to my knowledge with the authority to fire me or anyone

ScottyMacEsq :

Have you contacted HR, your supervisor's boss, or anyone else to confirm whether or not you have been fired? (that is, if she did not have the authority to fire you, have you checked to make certain that you're actually fired?)

Customer:

yes I did have a meeting with the VP of the company and she told me that I was fired and that she would talk to HR ( who was recovering from surgery at the time),and that she the VP would call me the following day or two to give me the decision that was made ,but she didn't call me.The information that was given to the VP from the lady that told me that I was fired ,prior to my meeting with the VP told that day that I would have to contact the VP to even tell me why I was fired

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you. Again, I am sorry to hear about your situation. First of all, you need to understand that employment in Oregon is "at will", as your written employment policies reaffirm. This is the default, in that no written document need state that your employment is "at will", and a reaffirmation will "solidify" that fact. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...).

ScottyMacEsq :

The fact that your employer says that you "abandoned" your job, while it's clear that this is not the case, is not going to be the basis for a wrongful termination action, because you were an "at will" employee. Only if you had a written employment contract or there was some written policy that specifically said that you would only be terminated "for cause" would you have a chance at a wrongful discharge case.

ScottyMacEsq :

That being said, "abandonment" has a different meaning when it comes to applying for unemployment, which it seems that they're trying to set up the case to contest any filing that you make for unemployment benefits. Per Oregon's Board of Labor and Industries (BOLI), there is no official definition of "job abandonment" under Oregon's wage & hour laws. But abandonment means abandonment. It does not mean unauthorized absence, but rather an absence without the intent to return. Where there is not an official definition of this in the written employment policies, the Oregon Employment Department (who makes the determination of eligibility) will make the determination of whether you objectively abandoned the job. That is, from an outsider's perspective, was it objectively clear that you abandoned... I think it's clear that 1 1/2 hours is not abandonment, from that perspective.

ScottyMacEsq :

Further, the laws governing your rights as a terminated employee (vs voluntarily quitting employee) would apply, in that you would be due your paycheck at the end of the next business day, rather than the next payday.

ScottyMacEsq :

Again, the fact that the employer applies its own policies against you, even negligently, is not going to be the basis for a wrongful termination action unless you can show that it's "pretext", in that the REAL reason for termination was based on illegal discrimination (age, race, gender, religion, disability).

ScottyMacEsq :

BUT for other rights (final paycheck, unemployment, etc...) you almost certainly would not be deemed to have "abandoned", objectively, your position.

ScottyMacEsq :

Most of the time that would require multiple DAYS of "no shows".

Customer:

so could this be grounds for denying my unemployment benefits while I'm seeking further employment

ScottyMacEsq :

I've never seen a case where a job abandonment was found (by the unemployment benefits board) in the case of less than a full workday's absence.

ScottyMacEsq :

It could be grounds if they ultimately determine that it was abandonment. But I would be shocked if they did.

ScottyMacEsq :

You can (and should) file for benefits. Your ex employer may contest it, and if they do, most likely the initial benefits will be denied.

ScottyMacEsq :

You should then appeal...

ScottyMacEsq :

The reason is that if your employer contests it, most of the time they deny it without looking at the evidence.

ScottyMacEsq :

The first time that you present your side of the story is often at the appeal. And the board will see that the "abandonment" that they claim was less than 1 1/2 hours, in which they almost certainly will say that this was not "abandonment" in the unemployment context.

ScottyMacEsq :

(and thus, you would then be eligible for benefits)

ScottyMacEsq :

Again, I am sorry to hear about your situation, and I am saddened that your company would treat you this way. It was clearly unethical, immoral, and unjust. It just was not illegal. I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. I do think that you are eligible for benefits, and you should absolutely apply (and appeal if they contest and you're denied, for the reasons I said above).

ScottyMacEsq :

I do wish you the best of luck in this matter, and hope that you find a much better employer that treats you as you deserve to be treated.

ScottyMacEsq :

If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq :

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

ScottyMacEsq :

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response.

Customer:

I am still here and I agree this was unethical ,immoral and unjust and that the employee and employer did this at will or just because they could ,and they did contest my UI benefits but there has not been a hearing as of yet but I was informed by the UI office that it was contested

ScottyMacEsq :

In that regard you should comply with the UI office in any information requested, etc... Again, if they deny it, make certain that you appeal (you should get information for the appeal from the UI office).

ScottyMacEsq :

I think that it's clear that this is not abandonment (which requires clear evidence that you actually abandoned, rather than just left to cool your head, etc...)

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

Thank you very much this did clear up a lot of questions that I was having ,I would like to print this conversation if possible or have it sent via email if possible if unable to print.You have been a great help

Customer:

Thanks again, Larry

ScottyMacEsq :

After you rate this and submit the rating, it will switch to Q&A, where you'll be able to print.

ScottyMacEsq :

You're welcome, and again, good luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11728
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
ScottyMacEsq and 13 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Scott, I did not at this time anymore questions for you and yes I did give you a rating thank-you
Larry
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, and again, good luck to you!

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