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quit with "just cause"? Ohio

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  • quit with "just cause"? Ohio

    This job was a bad experience and I definitely learned what to look out for in the interviewing process. My question is do I have a justifiable cause for leaving this position? Here's my situation...

    I took a position with the hours M-F 0730-1600. 2 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch everyday. 10-12 weeks of "peak" through the year: 1-2 in Jan, 5 in April, 2-3 in June and 2 in September. Peak's were 7 day work weeks on a rotation of 1st, 2nd, 3rd shift. The rest of the year we were to work our normal schedule (M-F 1st). It was mentioned in the hiring process that occasionally we may be "asked" to work an hour or two over on a given day in the off-peak, but that this was rare. I accepted these terms because the salary was decent, it was non-exempt (so I got the overtime), and it was a foot in the door of company I really wanted to work for. The details of the position were grossly misrepresented to me in the hiring process (I would not have taken the position if I was told what the job really entailed, but they did this to a lot of people because they had high turn around). I brought this misrepresentation up to my managers only 2 weeks of being there, and they told me that in my hiring they were describing a position that they thought I would be good for based on my experience and aptitude, but that everyone started at this level during their first 90 days (the evaluation period). I accepted this answer. True to their word, they put me in for the promotion after my 90 days, because "I had excelled at the job and showed exemplary performance". The promotion, however, took another 2 months before I finally stepped into it. In this time, I had worked the April and June peaks. During the off-peak months, the "rare" overtime requests were not actually rare but occurred about every week, plus, they were not requests, they were mandatory. Our 15 minute breaks were also cut on many days due to work flow. Although I know it is not required that an employer give these breaks, they were something I asked about and was told during the hiring process. This all started to discourage me, but I decided to stick it out my year and then post out to another department. I also decided to further my education (and value to the company) by using the company's very nice (and encouraged) tuition reimbursement. I informed my managers that I would be taking these classes off-peak in the evenings (Oct - Jan). I got the okay.

    In Sept, we were informed that the department signed on 6 new accounts and some changes were going to be made. In early Nov, they told us that we would be going to 24 hour processing and we would be split among 7 shifts. Peaks would then mean that we would just go to 7 days a week, rather than also rotating shifts, and that there would now be 22-24 weeks of peak through the year. This was not going to work for me, and I let my managers know and asked about posting out to another department. I was told that you could not until you had been in a department for 1 year. I went to HR about the many problems I had with this plus the misrepresentations of the job as I had accepted them. HR agreed with me and told me they would allow a post out prior the 1 year requirement. When my managers were told this, they began "retaliation" against me: calling me into the office to discuss tedious things they thought I needed to be doing or not doing, false claims of insubordination to co-workers and not superiors, etc. I had to get HR involved with this as well because it was making it hard for me to meet deadlines. With HR involved, the harassment stopped for about 3 weeks until one day they had a "mandatory" overtime and I had left, as I had been doing when they called for these and I had my class. I had not notified them anytime that I was leaving during these in the prior 3 months, but this time they tried to call it "blatant insubordination" since I did not notify them this time. Fed up, I requested a meeting with HR and the management to get me out of this. On the day of the meeting with HR, management cancelled it saying we had too much work and that they and I were needed to get the work done. On that, I submitted my notice and they let me go that day.

    Sorry this was sooo long, I just wanted you to have as much info as possible. So again, do I have a justifiable cause for leaving this position?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Are you asking about a justifiable cause to quit in order to receive unemployment ins. benefits? If so, probably not. You generally don't receive benefits when you quit.

    However, it doesn't hurt to apply. It will be up to the state to decide if your reason for quitting qualifies as just cause & entitles you to benefits. It may be doubtful though.
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    • #3
      What I think doesn't matter compared to what your state's labor deptartment will think if you're applying for UI. But since you asked for opinions, my opinion is to agree with Betty that you probably are not going to qualify for UI. But who knows...I could be wrong. I've seen stranger things happen.

      In employment law there is a concept known as "constructive discharge" which basically means they made things so terrible for you there that any reasonable person would have had no choice but to quit. But while I did not experience what you experienced, and maybe it was a lot worse for you than it sounds, what you describe does not look to me like it comes close to the kind of treatment I have seen in constructive discharge cases. In addition, constructive discharge is usually raised with respect to some employment law alleged violation, as in cases of race discrimination or sexual harassment, where because of your race/sex/religion/whatever (of the protected characteristics) they made things so bad any reasonable person would have had to quit. You raised nothing to do with any of the legally protected characteristics.

      You ask if you had "just cause" to quit. It sounds like the job made you unhappy and I'd be the last person to blame anyone for leaving a job that made them unhappy. And I'm certainly in no position to claim I would have felt any different had I been in your shoes. But I still doubt that will be enough to have a high probability of getting UI.

      But as Betty said, it can't hurt to apply and see what happens.
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      • #4
        Thank you for your replies. They actually were not trying to get me to quit, but to stop me from leaving. If they could have gotten written up, then I would not have able to post out for 6 months after the write up. (This I found out overhearing a conversation between my manager and her HR person). So, I have a couple other question if you don't mind...

        1) Is it truely insubordination what I did by leaving after being told to stay when I notified them months earlier that I was takin these classes?

        2) Ohio law states that you may still receive UI if you quit if "Your employer failed to meet terms of the employment agreement" and "whether the action taken was one that would be taken by an ordinarily careful person under similar circumstances." Is an offer letter of employment by the company, which lays out the shifts as I described earlier, considered an agreement in this case?

        I do still plan on applying today for UI, I'm just trying to get some info so I know what direction to go if it gets denied (whether to appeal). Thanks again for your help!


        • #5
          1.) There is no legal definition of insubordination. Your employer is free to consider it so.

          2.) Offer letters rarely if ever constitute contracts or employment agreements.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


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