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"good cause" definition of leaving job California

On Lawyer & Legal » Employment & Labor Law

8,503 words with 9 Comments; publish: Wed, 30 Sep 2009 11:58:00 GMT; (800264.65, « »)

Hello:

I am trying to get clarification of "good cause" in the sense of terminating my employment; more specifically the clause that states (clause 1256--I added the ... to shorten the post):

"1256. An individual is disqualified for unemployment compensation benefits if the director finds that he or she left his or her most recent work voluntarily without good cause or that he or she has been discharged for misconduct connected with his or her most recent work...

An individual may be deemed to have left his or her most recent work with good cause if he or she leaves employment to accompany his or her spouse or domestic partner to a place from which it is impractical to commute to the employment. For purposes of this section "spouse" includes a person to whom marriage is imminent..."

What is the definition of "imminent" when referring to marriage and what is the definition of "impractical" in the sense of commute.

My situation:

My fiance and I have been engaged for a few months (since late June). We have lived together for 3 years, own a home together, and have been dating for 3+ years. We have a wedding planned for late April 2010. Invitations have been sent, money has been deposited, we're getting married.

Around late April, my fiance's company went BK and he found a new job located in Pasadena. Our home is in Costa Mesa (approx 55 miles one way from Pasadena).

If we rent our house and find a place in Pasadena, could I quit my job and still claim unemployment under this code, qualifying both that our marriage is "imminent" and that it is impractical to commute 60+ miles to work (in the direction "with" traffic)?

It currently takes approx 1.5 hours against traffic to go one way.

Thanks for your assistance.

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  • 9 Comments
    • I am not an expert on CA unemployment issues but in my opinion, seven months is not "imminent". Paternal as it is, though, the CA UI office may disagree with me. Have you asked them?
      #1; Wed, 30 Sep 2009 12:01:00 GMT
    • Yes, and I believe what you fear is true. You can call UI and get an opinion in advance, but that will in no way be binding on them when you actually do it. It does appear that the individual processing your claim has quite a bit of flexibility, so if you do get through to someone who sees things your way, it may not be helpful when you file your claim. I agree with the comments of cbg and Alice. I would fully expect your UI claim to be rejected.

      And, a rhetorical question. Are you REALLY looking for UI benefits because you don't think you can find another job? Or, are you thinking that collecting UI benefits would be good while you are preparing for your wedding? Meaning, are you really intending to look for another job?

      Your writing skills are quite good - we see a lot of posts that are not. That is meant as a compliment and also as an indicator that you may be more employable than you'd like to be right now.

      #2; Wed, 30 Sep 2009 18:38:00 GMT
    • If I leave my current position and my current employer does not "fight" my claim of unemployment benefits, then it is all a moot point anyway, correct?

      Not necessarily - the state makes the decision whether you get UI or not & not your employer.

      #3; Thu, 01 Oct 2009 00:40:00 GMT
    • No, there is no hard and fast definition. What is reasonable and what is not, is subject to a great many variable factors, which are not necessarily consistant within the state.

      What is reasonable in Los Angeles can be completely different from what is reasonable in Fresno.

      #4; Wed, 30 Sep 2009 14:04:00 GMT
    • Hmmm, in LA/OC, a 1-1.5 hour commute is not considered excessive. I live in the Bay Area and 2 hours is common for some folks. You could also find a place halfway in between where you both work. I don't think they'll go for it.
      #5; Wed, 30 Sep 2009 13:49:00 GMT
    • If I leave my current position and my current employer does not "fight" my claim of unemployment benefits, then it is all a moot point anyway, correct? I guess I am just trying to have a backup plan if my asking to be laid off isn't handled that way through HR, or if they say that I quit without good cause.

      My reason for unemployment? My current career field is in the homebuilding industry, unfortunately an industry that has taken a beating these last few years. Whereas hopefully it says something about my skill sets as to that I am still employed, I think that it had to do with a lot of luck and being in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, I think that after 6 years of employment with the same firm, I feel that I need to move on as my work is not enjoyable, my career growth is limited in the firm, and changes are being made that in any other job market would also indicate that it is time to move on. While I have been looking at other jobs for the past 12 months or so, it is hard to find something in the construction industry...especially when there are some job postings that state "homebuilders need not apply" or words to that effect. There are quite a few construction professionals out there still looking for work...think the housing glut is huge? Wait until you see all the construction workers (onsite and office staff, commercial and residential, etc) that are still out of a job...easier to find someone to buy a home than it is to find someone to hire us...

      Part of my looking for unemployment benefits is the coincidence that my fiance has had this job relocation (he is one of the fortunate ones in the construction industry that was laid off through company bankruptcy and found another job quickly) and that I am very unhappy at work. However, we can't afford our mortgage on one income and even with renting out our home we would still be short on the mortgage and have enough to rent an apartment in Pasadena. How miserable do you need to be at work before you quit? And is my misery which will bring home a paycheck worth his misery of commuting everyday, often 1.5 to 2 hours each way, to stay in our home? [FYI, we are current in our mortgage, have good credit, not looking to sell our home, and not looking to participate in the "Help for Homeowners" programs or any loan modification programs.] Am I really intending to look for employment? Yes. If you know of someone that could use my skills and offer me employment in the greater Pasadena area would I jump at the chance? Absolutely.

      And thank you for the compliment on my writing skills. In multiple forums that I am a member of (and this one as well) I noticed some awful spelling, grammar, and wonder how people are educated and/or employed that they do not know the proper spelling of some words. (And the red line under misspellings doesn't clue them in.)

      Thank you again for your help. I wish that I could contribute more to this forum as it is an excellent place to get some answers to some great questions. Unfortunately, labor law and HR/Payroll isn't my area of expertise. If you want to know about convection ovens or HVAC systems, I'm your girl.

      #6; Wed, 30 Sep 2009 19:27:00 GMT
    • There is a persistant belief that as long as an employer does not contest benefits, benefits will be granted regardless. That is not true. If the reason for the employment ending is one which would disqualify the employee for benefits, benefits will be declined regardless of whether the employer contests or not. I have had employees declined for benefits when I did not contest if their reason for leaving was a disqualifying one.
      #7; Thu, 01 Oct 2009 06:39:00 GMT
    • I'll work on calling the UI and seeing if I can get an answer to both of these questions.

      Another semi-related question is: is it up to whomever ends up with the paper on their desk to determine what the unreasonable commute is? Meaning that if my claim falls on Susie's desk instead of Laura's desk, is that what will determine what unreasonable commute is and "imminent" marriage (Susie's definition versus Laura's definition), or is there a hard, fast definition?

      Thanks again for all your help.

      #8; Wed, 30 Sep 2009 13:55:00 GMT
    • I guess that's one of the things that I was afraid of. The definition depends on the person verifying your claim.

      I tried to contact UI. After a 2.5 minute phone recording, I was in the "choose your topic" section of the automated directory. After finally getting to a place where I (thought) that I would be able to speak with someone, the machine told me that "due to the high number of calls, no one is available to speak with you. Please try again at another time." and was hung up on. Frustrating.

      #9; Wed, 30 Sep 2009 14:24:00 GMT