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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I live 75 miles from my work. I was hired a month ago and was

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I live 75 miles from my work. I was hired a month ago and was told I would only need to come into the office 1-2 days a week. The traffic commute can and does take 4-6 hours a day. My employer has notified me that I need to come in M-F full time to keep my job. Is this good cause to quit and file for unemployment benefits while I look for a new job??
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.
Typically when an employee resigns, they will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. This is because one of the requirements for receiving benefits is that the claimant be unemployed "through no fault of their own." When an individual resigns, they are generally regarded as unemployed "through fault," since they made the voluntary decision to become unemployed.
However, the EDD recognizes a limited exception to this rule when an employee quits for reasons amounting to "good cause." A substantial change in terms of employment that would cause a reasonable person genuinely desirous of remaining employed to quit will be good cause. Certainly, the requirement that you come in 5 days a week rather than just 2 can rise to this level when the commute is so lengthy.
But the difficult thing is that there are no absolutes when it comes to "good cause" for quitting. Likely an individual in your circumstance would be granted benefits, especially if you first inform your employer that you will be forced to quit if they don't maintain your current schedule) but in quitting you will always be assuming some risk that you'll be denied benefits and then have no way to support yourself. So, the better course of action for most employees in this circumstance is to continue working and quit only once you have secured another offer of employment. That way there is no gap in your income. Statistically, it is also easier to get a job when you already have one. Something about employers wanting to hire people whom they perceive to be "in demand."
Of course, only you can decide whether this commute is bearable until you get a new job. If it's not, you can quit and apply for benefits, but expect your employer to contest your claim and expect that you may have to file an appeal before your benefits are granted.
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.

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