Benefits were awarded where claimant had reasonable belief he would be discharged
Friday, October 11, 2019

Benefits were awarded where claimant had reasonable belief he would be discharged

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The claimant, a commercial appraiser for a county, voluntarily quit his  employment with good cause because he thought he was going to be discharged. After the county imposed four successive work plans and increasingly severe disciplinary actions against the claimant because he did not meet its minimum production standards, the claimant's union contacted the county to try and resolve the situation. Had the county imposed the three-day suspension it was pursuing, the next step in its discipline process could have been termination. The claimant's union representative and steward urged the claimant to accept the county's proposed settlement agreement under which the claimant would voluntarily resign in exchange for monetary benefits and the county's agreement to tell future employers that he left, with no negative commentary. According to the court, the issue was not whether the claimant would have been discharged by the county but rather, whether, under the circumstances, a reasonable person facing the prospect of discharge would have thought that resigning was the only reasonable option. Given the advice of his union representative and steward, the claimant's belief that he was going to be discharged was reasonable and the Board did not err in determining that a reasonable person exercising ordinary common sense would have believed that leaving work was the only course to take. Accordingly, the Board's decision that the claimant resigned with good cause and was entitled to benefits was affirmed (Lane County v. ED and William T. Stich, Ore. Ct. of App., Nos. 2018EAB0336, A167928, September 11, 2019).

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