My Former Employer Says I Left Work Without Good Cause Attributable to the Employer. What Does That Mean?

Quit... or fired? A frequently disputed fact in unemployment benefits appeals cases is whether an employee quit or was terminated.

Employers will often claim that an employee quit and is therefore not entitled to unemployment benefits. The employee will often reply that he or she didn't quit, didn't mean to quit, or was forced to quit.

N.C.G.S § 96-14, "Disqualification For Benefits," provides in part that:

An individual shall be disqualified for benefits... if it is determined by the Commission that such individual is, at the time such claim is filed, unemployed because he left work without good cause attributable to the employer.

"Good cause attributable to the employer" in this context means the employer did something to create a good reason for the employee to leave.

The statute then goes on to list specific situations which do not count as leaving work without good cause. For instance:

Health Issues
When an employee or an employee's family member has an "adequate disability or health condition" and gave the employer adequate notice of the disability, and then leaves work due to the disability or condition, it should not be considered leaving work without good cause.

Significant Reduction in Pay or Work Hours
When an employee leaves work due to suffering a "unilateral and permanent reduction" of more than 20% in hours or 15% in pay, subject to certain conditions, this will be considered leaving work for good cause attributable to the employer.

So what does not count as leaving work for good cause attributable to the employer?

Leaving After Being Told Your Job is About to End
When an employee is told that his or her work will end soon, and leaves work as a result, this is not good cause attributable to the employer, unless the employee can show to the satisfaction of the ESC that "it was impracticable or unduly burdensome for the employee to work until the announced separation date," in which case the employee will be subject to only a partial decrease in benefits.

Of course, employers may not want to acknowledge the true circumstances which led to the employee's leaving work. Employers may also write an employee's resignation letter or direct an employee to resign. This does not mean that the employee has left work without good cause!

If your employer is arguing that you are ineligible for benefits because you left work without good cause attributable to the employer, contact me to discuss possible responses. I am a North Carolina unemployment appeals hearing lawyer and I will help you fight for your benefits in a telephone hearing or an in-person hearing. In fact, my fee is lower for telephone hearings because they require less travel time for me. Feel free to give me a call at (919) 886-5005 or email me at richard.d.allen.esq (at) gmail (dot) com today to discuss your case. All discussions are completely confidential.