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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39047
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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good morning. My name isXXXXX am in a unique situation.

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good morning. My name isXXXXX am in a unique situation. I have voluntarily chosen to move from Hayward, CA to Charlotte, NC to be closer to my mother who has dementia and I put in a nursing home. I pay for her expenses and am the POA for her financial and health affairs.
I work from home for an international airline in corporate sales and travel all over the country on sales calls. This airline provides complimentary airfare to get to my sales calls based on agreements they have with other both domestic and international carriers. It is an industry wide accepted practice.
My company is stating that they do not support my relocation on a permanent basis, but as a temporary relocation, (which they know it is not) they would be willing to let me continue working, but will not supply me with the air tickets provided by the other carriers to make my sales calls which are a part of my job. Basically they are saying if I choose this path, they will continue to employ me, but I need to pay my own way to get to and from Charlotte, when I conduct my sales calls. This is financially unacceptable to me.
Essentially I plan on resigning due to this situation, but more importantly, to be able to look after my 85 yr old mother.
I had presented to them a business plan on how I plan on maintaining my job duties from Charlotte, where I would continue to do all administrative work from home (they supply me with internet, phone and laptop) and showed them that my customers reside all over the country and flying out of Charlotte is no different than flying out of San Francisco.
My question is, if I resign due to their terms, and of course my choice to be in Charlotte to provide support for my mother, am I eligible for unemployment benefits.

Questions of this sort can be the devil to answer.

Title 22 Ca Code Reg. § 1256-9 (b) provides:

  • "A claimant voluntarily leaves work with good cause based on domestic circumstances if the claimant's obligation is of a real, substantial, and compelling nature such as would cause a reasonable person genuinely desirous of retaining employment to take similar action, and the claimant's reason for leaving work is due to a legal or moral obligation . . . ."

Subsection (c) Comments, addresses factors to be taken into consideration before the leaving may be determined to be with good cause:

  • "This section . . . requires: (1) the existence of an obligation due to domestic circumstances; and (2) a "compelling reason" for leaving work.

  • However, while the claimant's particular domestic circumstance is the basis for voluntarily leaving his or her job, the claimant must also demonstrate that his or her decision to leave work was reasonable in view of all the facts. Important considerations are (1) that an obligation exists, (2) that is substantial, that (3) no reasonable alternative exists for meeting that obligation short of leaving work, and that (4) the claimant's actions are in good faith and consistent with a genuine desire of retaining employment."

The above-bolded factors are critical to obtaining UI benefits. Cal Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB) precedent decision P-B-299, states, "A quit to be near, to live with, or to care for aged parents will be without good cause unless (1) the parents are unable to care for themselves and (2) the presence of the claimant is necessary.

The point here is that unless you can demonstrate the last two factors stated above, then you will be denied benefits. And, if the prior four factors suggest that your claims about the last two factors may be a subterfuge, then you still may be denied UI benefits.

So, if you go your present route, you need to have all of your facts and evidence in place, or you have a strong risk of being denied UI benefits. This is especially true, as your employer appears to be trying to retain your services -- it simply doesn't want to pay for you to live far from the home office. There is no unlawful discriminatory motive here. Were you temporarily relocating to care for a seriously ill family member, you could assert your right to California and Federal leave benefits -- and it appears that the employer is trying to recognize those rights, despite knowing that you are permanently relocating.

All of this combines to give the employer a pretty good case against your assertion of "good cause" to voluntarily resign.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne, I see this as a 50/50 bar. Your claim could go either way, and once it goes against you, it may be difficult to referse on appeal -- especially if you are busy caring for an ill parent.

Hope this helps.

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