Unemployment Hearing Case Review: Quit During Training

Learn from an unemployment hearing case review about when an employee quits during training and how to present your best case to increase your chance of winning.

Preparing for Unemployment Claims Hearings

You know how important unemployment claim hearings are. Being knowledgeable and prepared for different scenarios can mean the difference between a win or a loss, with tangible financial implications. Here is an unemployment hearing case example about an employee who quit during training and how it turned out.

Background

The employer operates a retail store. The claimant was hired as a cashier, and quit before completing training.

At the Hearing

The Employer’s Evidence: The employer testified the claimant worked for a few weeks for the employer training to be a cashier. The employer has a training program consisting of hands-on personal training with a trainer as well as instruction over the computer via pre-recorded training sessions. The HR Coordinator appeared as the employer’s witness. She stated that she had spoken with the claimant about concerns the claimant had about the training. The claimant told her that she felt like she was behind, and that she did not feel like the trainer was doing a good job of giving her the knowledge she needed. The witness testified that she advised the claimant that the employer had multiple resources available to assist the claimant with anything she was not comfortable with. The employer’s witness indicated that based on the conversation she believed that the claimant was going to come in the next shift and take advantage of some computer based training on topics she didn’t feel comfortable with. The claimant left work after that conversation and called later that evening to let the employer know she was not returning to work. 

The Claimant’s Evidence: The claimant testified that she quit because she felt like she was too far behind in her training to catch up. She indicated that she did not feel like the trainer liked her very much and was not very patient with her. She testified that when she asked questions the trainer said “you’re killing me” and “you are using up all your lifelines”. The claimant stated that she felt like the trainer was unprofessional. The claimant stated that she spoke to the employer’s witness and told her that she felt she was behind in the training and that she did not feel that the trainer was training her in the manner that he should. The claimant stated that the employer's witness indicated that the trainer “does things differently” and the claimant may feel better after taking training courses on the computer. The claimant stated that she did not feel like that was sufficient and that even though she had one week of training left, she was too far behind and decided to find a different job. She testified that she left work right after speaking with the HR Coordinator and decided to quit on the way home. 

The Hearing Decision

The Hearing Officer found that:

  • The claimant quit work because the claimant believed the trainer was unprofessional and did not like her.
  • The claimant was frustrated with the training process and quit.
  • The evidence did not establish that the claimant faced a grave situation where she had no reasonable alternative but to quit work. The claimant could have continued her training and attempted to catch up or she could have discussed further options with the HR Coordinator. Instead, the claimant simply quit without exploring all options available to her. 

The claimant appealed. The claimant argued that:

  • She believed the trainer’s behavior was so egregious that she had no choice but to quit.
  • She did not believe that it was possible to catch up so she felt that quitting was the only option available to her.

The Board of Review Decision

The Board of Review (Board) affirmed the decision stating that:

  • The claimant did not establish that the trainer’s behavior was so egregious that it left her no choice but to quit. The Board found that the claimant did not report the trainer’s behavior and therefore did not give the employer the opportunity to address the problem. 
  • The claimant stated that she left work because she felt like she was behind in her training. The claimant could have taken the additional training, or spoken to the HR Coordinator again about other available options and failed to do so. 

Takeaways

  1. The claimant has the burden of proof in a quit job situation. That means the claimant must prove that they quit for reasons that are attributable to the employer and they had no choice or alternative but to resign. Generally, the state will decide whether or not the situation would cause a reasonable person in a similar situation to quit rather than remain employed. 
  2. The claimant must prove that they gave an employer the opportunity to address the claimant’s concerns prior to quitting. If the claimant does not give the employer sufficient or any opportunity to address the claimant’s concerns, the state may rule against the claimant.
  3. If the claimant had further complained to the employer specifically about the trainer’s comments and how it made the claimant feel, it may have been sufficient to prove good cause in some states provided the claimant gave the employer a reasonable chance to rectify the situation. 
  4. Employers should also be mindful that its liability is generally dependent on whether or not the claimant’s wages fall in the base period. Further, the amount of liability is proportionate to the wages collected during the base period. If a claimant has only worked for the employer a short time, the potential liability may be very low. 
     

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And, learn more about unemployment hearings and how using a hearing representative from Equifax Workforce Solutions can help you enjoy a double digit increase* in your win rate, check out the Workforce Wise™ Podcast episode, Why Should I Worry About Unemployment Hearings?

*2020 Equifax Client Data
Disclaimer: This is just an example of a client’s experience, but might not be representative of your future success — since your success is dependent upon the unique facts and circumstances of your individual company

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