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I've been with my employer for 2 years as of tomorrow. My…

Hello I've been with my...
Hello I've been with my employer for 2 years as of tomorrow. My offer letter states that I am based out of my home office and I have telecommuted 4/5 days a week for the past 2 years. My employer is now requiring me to be on-site 5 days a week representing a 1 hour commute each way with atransit pass cost of $70/mo. The 2 hours I spend commuting amount to ~$7000 at my current wage. They claim that I no longer have use of my home office because the office table I use is temporary and moves in and out of the office, but they knew about this ~1.5 years ago (I can get a letter from my manager at that time confirming that I informed him) and it has not been an issue until now. Might I have a case where I would be eligible for unemployment benefits in California if I quit voluntarily?My manager is the one who informed me of the change. I offered to have the table in my office set up at the beginning of the work day but he said "we are past that now"I am not a member of any union and am an at will employee paid hourly.
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Please note that my door is a curtain, but they knew this.
Answered in 7 minutes by:
3/22/2018
Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,405
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Verified

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to answer your question.

Unfortunately, employers are generally free to change the terms and requirements for employment at any time, for virtually any reason, absent an agreement guaranteeing the original terms for a set duration (very few employees have this). So, it probably would not violate any law for your employer to now, after two years, require you to commute, even if their reasons for imposing this requirement are unfair.

As for unemployment benefits, the question would be whether you are unemployed "through no fault of your own." Significantly increased commutes and significant reductions in wages can rise to this standard, but being completely honest with you (which I will assume you will appreciate), 2 hours of daily commuting would likely not be regarded as so unreasonable that you are "forced" to resign and thus unemployed through no fault of your own. Likewise, a reduction of $7,000 in total annual earnings would probably not be sufficient to be deemed unemployed through no fault of your own, as the EDD has taken the position that paycuts must be 30% of more to meet that standard. And here, it is not a direct paycut but, as I am understanding it, increased commuting costs which cut into your net take-home pay. So that would likely be even more questionable in terms of meeting the 30% paycut general guideline.

The better course of action, almost certainly, would be to either negotiate increased compensation or start looking for another job now and quit once you've received a better offer somewhere else. Studies have shown that it is easier to find a job when you are already employed. Plus, unemployment benefits never compensate you at 100% of your previous earnings, so transitioning seamlessly between jobs will be much better for you financially.

I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not entirely what you were hoping to hear. 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.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Got it thank you. 1 last hope:
They didn't have a physical office before and are now have one at the place they are requiring me to commute, I don't suppose that changes anything?and to close us out: are all justanswer Q/A's public or is there a way i can keep this private?

Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, no these additional facts would not change the answer. Just Answer questions are public, however, I can ask the moderators to lock this question from public view once we are done. Just let me know if you'd like me to do that.

Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,405
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Verified
Patrick, Esq. and 87 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
please lock the question from public view. To clarify does this make the question inaccessible to the public?
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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