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Anticipated Discharge Is Not Good Cause For Voluntary Resignation

Published by on February 17, 2012

Can an employee in Virginia voluntarily resign their position out of fear of an impending discharge for poor performance and subsequently receive unemployment benefits?  The Court of Appeals recently held that an anticipated discharge is not “good cause” to resign.  More after the break. On January 31, 2012, the Court of Appeals of Virginia reviewed […]

Can an employee in Virginia voluntarily resign their position out of fear of an impending discharge for poor performance and subsequently receive unemployment benefits?  The Court of Appeals recently held that an anticipated discharge is not “good cause” to resign.  More after the break.

On January 31, 2012, the Court of Appeals of Virginia reviewed an appeal for unemployment benefits from the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond.  Deborah Smith voluntarily resigned her position as a truck dispatcher and filed an administrative claim for unemployment benefits with the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC).  The VEC denied Smith’s claim to benefits because she had quit her job.

Smith said she voluntarily quit because she thought she would eventually be fired due to chronic mistakes on the job, including routing mistakes that caused truckers to be overpaid for their routes.  Smith also claimed that she left her position because she wanted to attend college. 

After considering the administrative record as a whole, the court upheld the VEC’s decision to deny Smith’s claim because “anticipated discharge” is not good cause for leaving a job.  “To constitute good cause for quitting, the employee must prove the employer created workplace conditions so intolerable that the employee had no reasonable alternative except to quit her job,” the court said.  Thus, because Smith voluntarily left her job without good cause, the VEC was correct to deny her unemployment benefits. 

To read the whole opinion, click here.

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