By Peg Elofson
The claimant voluntarily quit after she complained about a coworker. She was disqualified from unemployment benefits upon finding that she quit without good cause connected with the work. She appealed and a hearing was scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
The Claimant’s Evidence: The claimant testified that she quit due to illegal activity in the workplace. She testified that she heard a coworker use a racial slur and reported it to her employer. The claimant did not hear anything back from the employer and the coworker used the racial slur again. She testified that the employer was not going to do anything about the coworker or her complaint, so she decided to quit.
The Employer’s Evidence: The employer testified that the claimant had reported to her manager that a coworker had used a racial slur in her presence the previous week. The manager referred the issue to their Human Resource (HR) department. The employer witness from HR testified that, as a part of the investigation into the allegations, she had requested a written statement from the claimant about the incident. The claimant submitted her resignation instead. The employer testified that if the claimant had asked, the employer would have transferred her to another work site or offered her hours that were different from the offensive coworker.
The ALJ found that the claimant quit without good cause connected with the work, and she was disqualified from benefits. The ALJ found that the claimant failed to give the employer the opportunity to address her concerns. The situation was not so onerous as to compel her to leave work immediately. The claimant appealed, arguing that the situation was serious enough to compel her to leave work, and she requested a new hearing to present additional evidence. The claimant offered no reason for not presenting all of her evidence at the scheduled hearing.
The Board of Review (BOR) agreed with the ALJ’s decision, and the claimant remained disqualified from benefits. The employer evinced an intention to investigate the claimant’s concerns, but the claimant left work immediately rather than provide a written statement. This did not allow the employer the time to investigate the incident and address it. Additionally, the claimant appeared at the hearing to present her evidence. She did not provide a reason for not presenting her additional evidence, which could be considered good cause to reopen the matter. The request was denied.
*Please remember: Unemployment Laws vary from state to state. The result in this case might be different from a case in your state based on your separate or unique facts, laws, regulations, or circumstances.