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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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I left my job because my husband was laid off from the same

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I left my job because my husband was laid off from the same RV Resort I was the General Manager of in Ramona CA. I made about $300.00 more a month ($2300.00) than he did ($2000.00). My husband wanted to relocate to the Pacific N.W. because it is Peak season there and he has always had good luck finding employment there. During the summer months the South West is in their off peak season because of the heat and all the Snow Birds (full time RV'ers) go North. I resigned my position on 5/31/12. We moved to Seaside Oregon because it is in the middle of the Tourist country and the oppertunity is greater here plus the cost of living is much cheaper than in the San Diego CA. I filed for U.I. about 6/26/12 after an extensive work search. I was denied and will appeal on the grounds that my husband was the sole provider (his U.I. claim was approved and he filed as soon as he was laid off about 6/2/12) I had been unemployed for about 3 weeks by the time I filed. The closest case i can find is No. P-B-81
Case No. 69-4255
How can they deny my claim? Even by their standereds my claim should be approved? Any help you can provide to help plead my case to a faverable conclusion will be gr8ly appreciated.

Jean U.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. My goal is to answer your question completely and thoroughly and to provide excellent service.

I am very sorry to hear that your husband lost his job and that you have bene denied unemployment benefits upon moving to Oregon.

California has articulated a clear public policy of supporting the marital relationship, and with this policy in mind, the Unemployment Insurance Code provides that a claimant who quits his or her job "to preserve family unity" has quit with "good cause" provided the facts show the claimant's actions were reasonable under the circumstances existing at the time he or she quit.

Section 1256-9 (c) Comments, addresses factors that the EDD will take into consideration before a voluntary quit will be deemed to be with "good cause":

"...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 that an obligation exists, that is substantial, that no reasonable alternative exists for meeting that obligation short of leaving work, and that the claimant's actions are in good faith and consistent with a genuine desire of retaining employment."

Further elaborating on the question of what constitutes "good cause," Title 22, Section 1256-10, Example 2, Comments provides:

". . .[A] claimant voluntarily leaves work with good cause if there is a need to preserve the family unit. The danger of disintegration of the family unit must be substantial so as to compel the claimant to voluntarily leave his or her work . . . . The fact that a claimant's spouse's reason for forcing the claimant to make a choice may seem unreasonable is not controlling. Rather, the controlling factor is the actual jeopardy to the continued existence of the claimant's family unit. On the other hand, where the nature of the claimant's job is such that a minor inconvenience to the claimant's family life style is created, but there is no danger that the family unit will be substantially disrupted, the claimant does not have good cause for leaving work. The claimant must act as a reasonable person would in deciding to voluntarily leave his or her work."

In terms of applicable decisions, P-B-230 seems paritcularly supportive of your cause. In the EDD's "Benefits Determination Guide," they sumamrize that decision as follows:

"Both the claimant and his wife were from Pennsylvania. They moved to California when the claimant secured employment. The wife was extremely dissatisfied with their living conditions and wanted to return to their home state. Finally the claimant's wife told him that she intended to leave California, move to Pennsylvania, and take their three minor children with her, regardless of what his desires were. The ultimatum from his wife caused the claimant to quit his employment and move to Pennsylvania to preserve the family unit. The Board compared the claimant's situation to several other nonprecedent decision cases and stated:

"In none of these cases was the claimant confronted with the ultimatum presented to the claimant herein; he could retain his employment with the result that he would be separated from his wife and children, perhaps permanently, or he could leave his employment, return with his family to their former home and thus maintain the family unity . . . . [W]e believe that the claimant, faced with the ultimatum presented to him acted as a reasonable person when he chose to preserve his marriage and the family unity."

In light of the above, what an individual in your circumstance would typically need to stress during your appeal hearing is that you had no choice but to leave your job because your husband was going to relocate with or without you. Otherwise, the move to a different state will be regarded as an optional lifestyle change, and thus will not support the claim that you left work with "good cause." The cruz of the issue is essentially whether and to what extent you had a choice in the matter if you were desireous of maintaining your marriage. The more you can show that you had no other choice, the better your odds are of winning on appeal.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

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Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
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