Voluntary Quit - Section 8-1001 - Maryland Unemployment Decisions Digest - Appeals
Voluntary Quit - Section 8-1001 continued
To establish good cause, the claimant must show that the cause for leaving is directly attributable to, arising from or connected with the conditions of the employment or the actions of the employer. Purely personal reasons, no matter how compelling they may be, cannot constitute good cause. Board of Education of Montgomery County v. Paynter, 303 Md. 22, 491 A.2d 1186 (1985).
However, if the conditions of employment cause an employee to violate sincerely held religious beliefs, there is good cause for quitting the job. The belief does not have to be consistent or logical, or shared by all members of the employee's particular religious sect, but it must be sincere. Thomas v. Review Board of Indiana, 450 U.S. 707, 101 S.Ct. 1425 (1981).
An employee's health problem is considered to be connected with the work only if it results from an on-the-job injury or if it is caused by a reaction to some unusual item used in the work place. For example, if a claimant quit because he suffered an allergic reaction to a chemical with which he was required to work and he informed the employer of the problem prior to resigning, then the claimant would have quit for good cause if the employer did nothing to correct the problem.
Other health problems are generally not considered to be connected with the employment and therefore are not good cause for resigning, even if the health problems prevent the employee from doing his job.
Section 8-1001(d) specifically states three situations where neither good cause nor valid circumstances exist. These situations are when an individual leaves employment: (1) to become self-employed; (2) to accompany a spouse to a new location or to join a spouse in a new location; and (3) to attend an educational institution. The statute requires that an individual who quits due to the above situations receive a total disqualification from benefits. Note: Section 8-1001(c)(2)(iii) provides that valid circumstances exist if the separation from employment is caused by the individual leaving employment to follow a spouse if:
- The spouse:
- Serves in the United States military: or
- Is a civilian employee of the military or of a federal agency involved in military operations; and
- The spouse’s employer requires a mandatory transfer to a new location.
Section 8-1001(a)(2) was added to the statute effective October 1, 1995. It states that a claimant who is otherwise eligible for benefits from the loss of full-time employment may not be disqualified from the benefits attributable to the full-time employment because the claimant voluntarily quit a part-time employment, if the claimant quit the part-time employment before the loss of the full-time employment.
A. Connection with the Work
1. Overall Conditions
The claimant property manager resigned his employment after two years to seek employment in another field because he was no longer willing to cope with the hectic and demanding nature of his job. The claimant was well aware of these job conditions at the time of hire. The claimant had neither good cause nor valid circumstances for resigning. Gisriel v. Charles H. Steffey, Inc., 1085-BH-83.
The claimant accepted a seasonal, part-time job at Kohl’s after being laid off on November 6, 2008 from her job with Ryan Homes, a job she held for 14 years. At Kohl’s, she earned $7.50 per hour for up to 30 hours per week. She quit this job to accept a permanent job with Ann Taylor Loft, which paid $10.25 per hour for up to 30 hours per week. She started the new job on January 28, 2009. The Circuit Court of Montgomery County reversed the Board’s decision denying benefits and allowed benefits stating that the claimant’s case did not fall within the ambit of Section 8-1001(a)(1) because no unemployment resulted from the claimant’s voluntary resignation from Kohl’s. To the contrary, the claimant found more lucrative work with Ann Taylor Loft, from which there was no termination. The Court distinguished this case from Total Audio-Visual Systems v. DLLR or Plein v. DLLR because in each of those cases, “the new employment (equivalent to the Loft job here) was terminated and the claimant sought benefits from the previous employer.” The Board implemented the Order of the Court and held that the claimant voluntarily quit, but for good cause connected with the work. Simko v. Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc., 3366-DR-10. See Section V(B)(6) for more on this issue.
The claimant was hired by the employer as a carpenter to work on the construction of a new hotel. The claimant was told that he would need to use his own tools. On the first day of work, the claimant brought his tools, but was told these were not the right tools. During the weekend, the claimant attempted to borrow money so that he could buy the required tools, but was unsuccessful. The required tools would cost the claimant around $1000, which he did not have. The claimant called the employer to see if he could borrow money to purchase the additional tools. The employer told the claimant he could not talk to him and to call back later. The claimant called several more times, but the employer did not respond. The claimant did not return to work because he could not afford to pay for the tools. The Board held that the claimant voluntarily quit for good cause. Ange v. Latta Construction Texas LLC, 2479-BR-12.
The director informed the claimant that if she would immediately resign, she would have three more weeks of employment. The director made it clear to the claimant that her termination would occur because of the employer’s decision to use locally based personnel rather than a long-distance worker such as the claimant. The claimant is expected to “exhaust all reasonable alternatives before leaving work,” but is not required to exhaust all possible alternatives. The claimant, here, should not be expected to speak to anyone else in management when she talked to the director. The claimant quit because she learned she would be discharged if she did not. There were no performance problems and no disciplinary problems with the claimant. The employer had decided to change the way it operated with respect to remote-based employees, of which the claimant was one. The Board finds that the employer’s decision gave the claimant good cause to resign. Schwendenmann v. The Hon Company LLC, 5048-BR-13.
Where the claimant resigns due to a health problem resulting from an on-the-job injury, the reason for quitting is directly connected with the employment and constitutes good cause. Green v. Highland Health Facility, 438-BR-84.
The claimant suffered an on-the-job injury to her lower back. She returned to work but was supposed to be on light duty according to her own doctor and the company doctor. However, she was required to do regular, non-light duty tasks including lifting boxes, putting them on trays and bending, which she could not do. She explained this to her supervisor to no avail. She worked several shifts and then quit because she could not continue. The claimant voluntarily quit for good cause because she was forced to work beyond her physical capacity. Williams v. Maryland Cup Corporation, 545-BH-88.
The medical problems of the claimant were directly attributable to, arising from or connected with the conditions of employment. The claimant produced medical evidence to support her claim, and the employer produced no evidence to rebut this. The claimant had good cause for leaving. Stenner v. Mine Safety Appliance Company, 971-BR-88.
The claimant worked for the employer for one day. He quit because he was required to use an extension ladder numerous times a day to disconnect cable television wiring from telephone poles. He did not know that lifting ladders would be part of his job. He is incapable of lifting objects because he has torn rotator cuffs in his shoulders. The employer told him that they could not supply special equipment to assist him. The Board found that since the employer did not apprise the claimant that he would be expected to move and lift the particular wooden extension ladder required by the employer as part of his everyday duties, the claimant quit for good cause. He left the position as soon as he learned of this physical part of the job. Allen v. Network Administrative Consultants LLC, 3272-BR-12.
A transportation problem may be "connected with the conditions of employment" where the employer moved its location, and a claimant's resignation due to transportation problems caused by the employer's relocation may be for good cause. Thomas v. Washington Inventory Service, 899-BR-85.
The claimant had worked for the employer for nearly seventeen years when it was taken over by a new company. One week later, the new employer told the claimant that her current work location was closing and that all employees would be working in a new location which was nearly a four hour daily commute for the claimant. The claimant could not relocate her family and inquired about tele-commuting. When the employer denied this request, the claimant had no alternative but to quit the job. The Board held that the claimant’s voluntary quit was for good cause. Tumminello v. E & C Enterprises, Inc., 6200-BR-11.
4. Part-Time Work
Where the claimant left a part-time job of one night per week in order to conform to the requirements of her much more substantial part-time job of four to five nights per week, after efforts to resolve a schedule conflict were unsuccessful, the claimant has good cause connected with the total conditions of employment for leaving the inferior job. Pangborn v. Hannah's, 473-BR-82.
The claimant quit for good cause where she quit a part-time job because it was interfering with her ability to perform her full-time job. Pawlak v. Sally T. Mejia, M.D., 855-BR-87.
Quitting a part-time job in order to continue a full-time job, where the part-time work offered so few hours that it was uneconomical to continue, constitutes good cause. Wartzach v. Wendy's, 516-BR-83.
The claimant's resignation was without good cause or a valid circumstance where she left a 30-hour per week job which was to become full-time, in order to accommodate the hours of a much less substantial part-time job. Villalobos v. Paz Medical Association, 285-BR-86.
Quitting full-time work by retiring to continue part-time work does not constitute valid circumstances. A conclusion to the contrary defeats the purpose of the unemployment insurance program which requires full-time work. Clark v. ARC of Baltimore, Inc. 910-BR-06.
B. Specific Statutory Exclusions
The claimant became aware that the business where he worked was about to be sold and that the result would be his layoff. As a result, he attempted to start his own business. Since the claimant case up with his plan to become self-employed only after learning that his regular job was coming to an end and he would be soon left without work, the primary reason for the resignation was the impending layoff and not the desire to become self-employed. The claimant quit for valid circumstances. Diggs v. F.E. Vale, Inc., 373-BR-86.
2. Accompanying or Joining a Spouse
The claimant resigned to accompany her husband, who was transferred to another state to take care of his seriously ill mother. The claimant's spouse, not the claimant, was to provide care for his mother. The claimant resigned to accompany her spouse to a new locality which is neither good cause nor a valid circumstance under Section 8-1001. DeLoach v. Anne Arundel County Schools, 807-BR-85.
Neither good cause nor a valid circumstance is supported where a claimant resigned employment to accompany a person to whom she is not married. Since the legislature does not consider it a valid circumstance for a person to accompany a husband or wife, it follows that the legislature would consider that leaving a job to accompany a person who does not have the status of husband or wife would be an even less valid reason. Beck v. Laurelwood Nursing, 198-BR-85.
The statute specifically provides that leaving one's job to join a spouse in a new location is neither good cause nor a valid circumstance; and the same is true with regard to other family members, unless the claimant has left the job in order to care for a health problem of the family member. Knotts v. Westinghouse, 562-BH-84.
The claimant resigned in order to relocate with her husband who moved to obtain a new job offering normal working hours without job stress. The claimant's husband, although not as healthy as previously, was ambulatory and able to work full-time at his new, less stressful job. The claimant's husband is simply not a person who must be "cared for" by the claimant in a medical sense, which was the sense intended by the legislature. Therefore, the case appropriately falls within that provision of Section 8-1001 which disqualifies claimants who resign to accompany or join their spouses in a new locality. Eastep v. Gaithersburg Day Nursery, 24-BR-85.
Where an employee quits to relocate out of state with an ill spouse, the important issue is whether the employee left primarily just to join the spouse or to care for the medical needs of the spouse. Stidham v. Kelly Health Care, 650-BR-86.
Spouses of military personnel who lose their sponsorship and therefore become legally unable to continue in their jobs are not subject to a disqualification under Section 8-1001 of the law. Matthews v. U.S.A. - F.A. Center, Europe, 2279-BR-83.
The claimant left her employment with this employer only because her husband, an active duty member of the United States Army, was transferred to another state and the claimant could not, herself, transfer with the employer to a location near her new residence. The claimant had valid circumstances for leaving this employment. Ahmed v. Nordstrom, Inc., 2624-BR-12. See Section II – Good Cause – In General
3. Attending an Educational Institution
The claimant clearly left her job in order to attend an educational institution. The claimant voluntarily quit without good cause or valid circumstances. Alkire v. Butler Service Group, Inc., 201-BH-90. See cases under Section 8-903.
C. Religious Beliefs
The claimant voluntarily quit for good cause where the employer had specifically agreed to accommodate the claimant's religious schedule and then decided that it could no longer do so. However, even if the employer had not previously agreed, the claimant would still suffer no penalty under Thomas v. Review Board of Indiana, 450 U.S. 707, 101 S.Ct. 1425 (1981). In that case, the Supreme Court held that where the duties of employment conflict with a sincerely held religious belief causing the employee to voluntarily quit, no penalty may be imposed under the unemployment insurance law. Marshall v. Center Insurance Agency, Inc., 1299-BR-91.
The claimant's religious beliefs do not allow her to work between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. This belief was in conflict with the shift schedules she would have to work from time to time. As a result, she voluntarily quit. The claimant's resignation was for religious reasons and constitutes good cause. Hickey v. Maryland State Police, 223-BH-88.
The employer knew the claimant’s religion was an integral part of her life at the time she was hired. The claimant quit her job because her work days conflicted with her sincerely held religious beliefs. Citing Thomas v. Review Board of Indiana, 450 U.S. 707, 101 S. Ct. 1425 (1981) and Marshall v. Center Insurance Agency, Inc., 1299-BR-91, the Board held that the claimant met her burden of demonstrating that she quit for good cause. Rosskam v. Nasseri Clinic of Arthritic & Rheumatic Diseases LLC, 4563-BR-11.
III. Valid Circumstances - In General
Section 8-1001 does not specifically define "valid circumstances." However, it does state that a circumstance is valid only if it is either a substantial cause that is directly attributable to, arising from, or connected with the conditions of the employment or actions of the employer or if it is another cause which is necessitous or compelling and leaves the employee no reasonable alternative other than to leave the employment. An employee is required to exhaust all reasonable alternatives prior to quitting only where the primary reason for leaving the job is personal. Exhausting all reasonable alternatives is not statutorily required under Section 8-1001(c)(1)(i) which deals with leaving work for a substantial cause.
When a claimant leaves employment due to either the health of the claimant or the health of another individual for whom the claimant must care, the statute imposes an evidentiary requirement on the claimant. The claimant must submit a written statement or other documentary evidence of the health problem from a physician or hospital. There is no statutory requirement that the written evidence contain a statement that the claimant was advised by a physician to quit the employment. However, mere compliance with the requirement of supplying a written statement or other documentary evidence of a health problem does not mandate an automatic award of benefits. Shifflett v. Department of Employment and Training, 75 Md. App. 282, 540 A.2d 1208 (1988).
Leaving work on account of pregnancy is treated the same way as leaving work for other health problems. Wimberly v. Labor and Industrial Relations Commission of Missouri, 479 U.S. 511, 107 S.Ct. 821 (1987).
Necessitous or compelling personal reasons other than health problems may constitute valid circumstances. However, no necessitous or compelling situation can amount to a valid circumstance unless the claimant shows that there was no reasonable alternative other than to leave the employment.
A. Substantial Cause Connected with the Work
When the reason for leaving is due to the conditions of employment, the standard for determining whether valid circumstances exist is set out in Section 8-1001(c)(1)(i). Under that standard, valid circumstances exist where the reason for leaving was "a substantial cause" connected with the conditions of employment. The "necessitous or compelling" standard is the standard which should be applied when the reason for leaving the job was for personal reasons, under Section 8-1001(c)(1)(ii). Wilson v. Vincent A. Butler and Associates, Inc., 1691-BR-93.
The claimant worked as a part-time secretary/receptionist (1-3 hours per week) for the employer - a physician. When the claimant lost her full-time employment through no fault of her own from another physician - employer at the same location, she resigned her part-time position because she concluded that it was not worth the cost of travel to work for such a small amount of part-time hours. The Board ruled that the claimant's decision to quit and look for full-time work was not unreasonable and while not good cause, amounted to a substantial cause connected with the work for quitting constituting a valid circumstance. Chambers v. Henry H. Yue, 03657-BR-98 (1998).
The supervisor's repeated use of obscenities and his outbursts toward the claimant constitute a "substantial cause, connected with the conditions of employment." This is a valid circumstance under Section 8-1001(c)(1)(i). Where the reason for quitting is work-connected, as in this case, a showing of "no reasonable alternative" is not required. This requirement exists only where the reason for leaving is not connected with the work and the case is decided under Section 8-1001(c)(1)(ii). Meyers v. Allen Family Foods, Inc., 1667-BR-93.
The claimant, after having been laid off from his full-time employment, accepted a part-time position as a telemarketer. This type of work was not his regular line of work and he found the job to be very stressful. The claimant brought home only $50.00 per week after expenses. After working approximately three months, the claimant resigned. The claimant should not be totally disqualified from receiving benefits because he accepted a part-time job that was not suitable for him, after having been laid off. The minimal remuneration, plus the unsuitability of the work, constitutes a substantial cause, connected with the conditions of employment. Brown v. Mena Marketing Services, Inc., 1426-BR-93.
The Board held that the claimant quit for a valid circumstance after her supervisor failed to provide promised training and then wrongfully accused her of poor performance, wrote her up and suspended her. He also repeatedly asked her if she found another job. The employer was aware from the claimant’s hire date that she needed to be trained to perform her job. Jefferson v. Johns Hopkins University, 1964-BR-11.
During much of the claimant’s tenure at this employment, there had been conflict between the claimant, the treasurer and the CFO. The claimant received different instructions from each of these people, and each of them had authority over the claimant. During a meeting, the claimant became upset. She stated she had had enough and she wasn’t working there any longer. She returned her keys, cell phone and computer before leaving. The Board found that when the claimant returned the employer’s property, she was effectuating a quit of her employment. The claimant was compelled to quit. She had been in the middle of unresolved conflicts between two persons in positions of authority. The claimant did not have some other, higher management person to whom she could take her concerns. One of the claimant’s supervisors told the claimant she could not work with the claimant while the claimant was getting direction from the other supervisor. The claimant had no other reasonable option at this time. The Board found that the claimant had valid circumstances for her decision to quit. Ra v. The ARC Northern Chesapeake Region, 679-BR-12.
The claimant testified to several instances which led to her decision to quit this employment. All were related to or connected with the employment. The claimant took her concerns to the employer on several occasions, but the employer was not as responsive as the claimant had hoped or wanted. The claimant did not pursue her complaints any further with anyone in a higher position of authority. Because the claimant still had options available to her when she quit, she cannot show that she had good cause for leaving this employment. She did demonstrate that her leaving was based upon valid circumstances. A five-week benefit disqualification is the more appropriate penalty under these conditions. Jenkins v. Upper Chesapeake Health Systems, Inc., 4901-BR-12.
The claimant was hired as an administrative assistant to work with the employer’s construction site of the business. The employer required its administrative assistants to write all estimates, a task the claimant had never performed. The claimant would not be required to actually estimate a job. However, she would be given all the information on a job and then required to input that information into the system to generate the estimate. During the claimant’s first two days on the job, the employer gave her tutorials on the software used to generate estimates. After the training, the claimant had not completely grasped the program. She subsequently quit the job because she did not feel she could perform the task for which she was being trained. A finding of valid circumstances generally requires a claimant to attempt to perform the duties of a position. The Board will not find valid circumstances where a claimant refuses to try to perform some task which is reasonable and, in all likelihood, attainable. In this case, the claimant gave up, without making an attempt to try to use the program or otherwise learn how to use the program. The Board held that the claimant did not have good cause or valid circumstances for leaving this employment on her third day of work. Kraft v. Norino Management, Inc., 5032-BR-12.
The claimant’s immediate supervisor was nasty and disrespectful to her. The supervisor did not properly communicate with the claimant and ignored her requests to meet. The claimant did not report this to her supervisor’s supervisor prior to quitting. The Board held that the claimant voluntarily quit for a substantial cause connected to the employment warranting the minimum five-week penalty. Good cause was not supported because the claimant did not pursue, on her own initiative, speaking with her supervisor’s supervisor. Mims v. Ancillary Services, Inc., 1603-BR-14.
B. Necessitous or Compelling Other Reason
1. Employee's Health
The claimant suffered from a stress-related medical condition which was aggravated by stressful working conditions; her doctor suggested she quit long before her actual resignation. The job was not hazardous to the health of the average worker, and a finding of good cause is not supported. However, since the claimant had no reasonable alternative but to leave the job, valid circumstances are supported. Pinkney v. Host International, 142-BH-85.
The claimant resigned because she suffered an allergic reaction to certain chemicals she was required to work with on the job. The claimant did not inform her employer of her problem prior to resigning. The claimant's reason for leaving was connected with the employment. Since the claimant did not give her employer an opportunity to correct the problem, however, the claimant's resignation was without good cause, but was for a valid circumstance. Weaver v. Murray Corporation, 57-BR-86.
The claimant, who was within two years of retirement, developed arthritis of the ankle. This was documented by a doctor. As a result, she was unable to perform her duties and her commissions substantially dropped. She applied for a transfer to part-time work, but no transfers were available. This was a necessitous and compelling reason to leave and was a valid circumstance. Matheny v. May Department Stores, Inc., 644-BR-87.
An illness that has no connection with the work may still be a valid circumstance if the illness is a necessitous or compelling reason to leave work, and there is no reasonable alternative to quitting. Pearson v. Coca Cola Bottling Company, 2040-BH-83.
In December 2009, the claimant had surgery and suffered complications as a result. In January 2010, the claimant’s doctor advised the claimant that he should stop working until July 1, 2010. The claimant severed the employment relationship due to his health problems. He provided the Agency with medical documentation. The claimant knew the critical and time-sensitive nature of the employer’s work and knew that a leave of absence would be impractical under the circumstances. The Board held that the claimant voluntarily quit without good cause, but with valid circumstances. Wood v. New West Technologies LLC, 2086-BR-11.
The claimant, who worked as a stocker, seriously injured his neck in an off-duty car accident. He continued to work for several months while rehabilitating from the injury, until he began experiencing severe pain associated with the neck injury and the strenuous duties of his job. He informed his manager about this and requested lighter duty, however, none was available and the employer did not inform him of any other options. He subsequently quit the job. He provided medical documentation to the Agency. The Board held that he quit for valid circumstances. Kairis v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, 5584-BR-11.
The claimant had recently returned from active duty with the U.S. Military, serving in Iraq. He was employed as a part-time host in a busy restaurant. He found that the noises and crowded conditions in the restaurant were difficult to tolerate because they reminded him of the negative things he experienced in Iraq and quit the job. Prior to quitting, he did not discuss this with the employer because he realized that the employer could not change these conditions in its restaurant. Generally, in order to establish valid circumstances, a claimant must show that he tried to mitigate the negative working conditions prior to quitting employment. However, when it is clear that the problems cannot be resolved, the need to address the grievances is negated. In this case, it would be contrary to the employer’s interest to expect it to reduce the size of its crowds. The Board held that the claimant quit without good cause, but met his burden of proving valid circumstances. Illa-Medina v. Zaytiny Restaurant, 6076-BR-11.
Several years before starting his current job, the claimant had been involved in an industrial accident which resulted in him losing the tops of two fingers. The claimant’s current work brought him in close proximity of machinery which could have caused another injury. He learned, soon after starting this work, that he was fearful of the machinery and very uncomfortable trying to perform maintenance on it. He quit due to a reasonable fear of injury inherent in the work the claimant was required to do on this job. The Board finds that the claimant had a necessitous and compelling reason for leaving this employment sufficient to establish valid circumstances. The Board does not believe that the claimant should have been expected to attempt to ameliorate the conditions of his employment because it was the job for which he was hired which caused the discomfort. The Board does not see how the employer could have alleviated the claimant’s concerns and retain him in his position as a mechanic. Graves v. Hedwin Corporation, 1189-BR-12.
The claimant was employed as a drywall mechanic for the employer. He originally applied for a position as a foreman, but was informed that position was not available. He accepted the drywall position to prove that he was reliable and dependable. He was hoping to advance within a short time. The claimant had a pre-existing condition of osteoarthritis in his knees. On his first day of work, he was assigned to work in a high-rise building and was prohibited by the foreman from using the elevator. The claimant told his supervisor that using the steps exacerbated his osteoarthritis. The claimant asked about transferring to another position, but was told none was available. The claimant was not told that he could use the elevator if he provided a note from his doctor. The claimant quit the job because he could not continue to climb the stairs. The Board held that a claimant quit for valid circumstances. Grant v. The Michael Group, Inc., 4089-BH-12.
2. Health of Another Individual
The claimant's wife was suffering from a serious illness. She was living in North Carolina with their two children, but the claimant resided in Washington, D.C. Because of his wife's illness, the claimant resigned from his employment and moved back to North Carolina to help take care of his wife and children. The claimant quit due to a circumstance relating to the health of his wife who had to be cared for by the claimant, and this is a cause of such a necessitous nature that he had no reasonable alternative other than to leave. Williams v. National Applicators, 539-BR-89.
IV. Burden of Proof
Once it has been established that a claimant voluntarily quit the job, the claimant has the burden of proving that good cause or valid circumstances exist. To show good cause, the claimant must prove that the cause for quitting was directly connected with the conditions of employment or actions of the employer. To show valid circumstances, the claimant must prove either that the cause for quitting was a substantial cause directly connected with the conditions of employment or actions of the employer or, if the cause for quitting was personal, the claimant must show that the reason was necessitous or compelling and that the claimant had no reasonable alternative other than to quit the job.
If the personal reason for quitting was due to a health problem (either the claimant's health problem or that of another for whom the claimant must care), the claimant has the burden of producing documentary evidence of the health problem from a physician or hospital.
To establish either good cause or valid circumstances, the claimant must meet his burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence.
A. In General
When a claimant voluntarily leaves work, he has the burden of proving that he left for good cause or a valid circumstance. Hargrove v. City of Baltimore, 2033-BH-83.
In the case of an alleged voluntary quit, once the employer has shown that the claimant quit, the burden is on the claimant to show that the quit was for good cause or valid circumstances. In this case, the claimant did not meet that burden. Chisholm v. Johns Hopkins Hospital, 66-BR-89.
When a claimant accepts a new position in the company and works at it for over a year that position becomes the status quo, and the claimant would have to show a change in the new position in order to prove good cause. Bacod v. Bendix Field Engineering Corporation, 567-BR-92.
The claimant testified emphatically (but not credibly) that she was discharged. The claimant in fact abandoned her position and was considered to have voluntarily quit. Since she did not admit that she quit, she had no evidence to meet her burden of proving good cause or valid circumstances for quitting. Bailey v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, 1700-SE-93.
Both the claimant and employer presented opposing views of what transpired before the claimant voluntarily quit her job. The Board found the evidence to be in equipoise. Since the burden of proof to prove the case by a preponderance of the credible evidence rests with the claimant, it must be found that the claimant failed to meet her burden. The claimant submitted her resignation to be effective in 30 days. The employer responded by accelerating her resignation. In a similar case where the claimant gave two weeks’ notice and the employer accelerated the claimant’s leaving to be effective immediately, the penalty under Section 8-1001 did not commence until two weeks in after the separation from employment. Stefan v. Levenson and Klein, 1794-BR-82. In the instant case, the Board found that the employer accelerated the claimant’s resignation date from July 18, 2014 to June 17, 2014.The claimant is eligible for benefits beginning the week of June 15, 2014 and ending the week of July 13, 2014. McCalla v. Montgomery Child Care Association, Inc., 925-BR-15
B. When Health Reasons Are at Issue
Section 8-1001(c)(2) specifically provides that "an individual who leaves employment because of the health of the individual or another for whom the individual must care . . . shall submit a written statement or other documentary evidence of that health problem from a hospital or physician." Therefore, where the claimant fails to provide medical evidence of alleged stomach cramps caused by stress and overwork, neither good cause nor valid circumstances are supported. Davis v. Maryland Homes for the Handicapped, 25-BR-84.
A letter from a psychologist is sufficient to meet the requirement of Section 8-1001 when the claimant is referred to the psychologist by her physician, and the psychologist works at a clinic where the clinical director holds an M.D. Turner v. Prince George's County Board of Education, 1189-BR-92.
A written statement from a chiropractor does not meet the requirements of Section 8-1001, which provides that in the case of a health problem, the claimant must produce written or other documentary evidence of that health problem from a physician or a hospital. While the Board would normally construe this requirement liberally to cover all health care professionals, the Board is bound by a decision of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals which specifically held that a chiropractor is not a physician. Beverungen v. Briele, 25 Md. App. 233, 333 A.2d 664 (1975). The decision in this case is prompted only by the specific ruling of the Court and the Board is not ruling that other recognized health professionals connected with physicians and hospitals cannot supply sufficient evidence under Section 8-1001. Rice v. Baltimore City Board of Education, 1025-BH-82.
The statute does not require evidence that a physician "directly advise" a claimant to quit employment. Therefore, where the claimant establishes that he or she is suffering from an ailment made worse by the work performed, valid circumstances may be supported. Williams v. Prince George's County Board of Education, 461-BR-85.
The claimant resigned because of personal problems which resulted at some point in quite serious psychological consequences. However, since the claimant did not submit a written statement or other documentary evidence of a health problem from a physician or hospital, as required by Section 8-1001, the claimant did not meet the burden of proof. Bruce v. People's Security Life, 885-BH-87.
The claimant voluntarily quit due to a medical condition but failed to prove that the condition was sufficiently serious to leave him no other alternative but to leave his job. The claimant voluntarily quit without good cause or valid circumstances. Staples v. Giant Food, Inc., 685-BR-91.
The claimant voluntarily quit his job because he had a stroke which rendered him unable to perform his job duties. The claimant provided medical documentation of his medical condition to the Agency. The Board held that the claimant voluntarily quit without good cause, but for valid circumstances. Tolbert v. Source Staffing, Inc., 2030-BR-12.
The claimant had medical issues and was unable to perform even light duty. The claimant was not able to provide the employer with a definite date when he would be able to return to work. The claimant asked the employer to extend his leave, but the employer was unable to do so. As a result, the claimant quit the employment. The Board found that the claimant’s submission of medical documentation to the hearing examiner is necessary only where there is some dispute as to the claimant’s medical condition or ability to perform his duties. In this case, the claimant had submitted medical documentation to the employer and the employer did not dispute the claimant’s medical condition. If the claimant had not quit, he likely would have been discharged for reasons which were beyond his reasonable control. Such a separation would not have been disqualifying. The mere fact that he quit so that he could remain eligible to be rehired should not change his separation into one which is disqualifying. The Board held that the claimant had valid circumstances for leaving the job. Smith v. Federal Express Corporation, 2275-BR-12. (Medical documentation not needed)
The claimant made a decision to voluntarily quit her position in order to address her health issues. The Board found that the claimant’s own evidence does not support a finding that she was medically restricted from work. There is insufficient evidence that the claimant was advised by her physician to quit her job. The claimant’s self-diagnosis is not enough to satisfy the evidentiary requirements under Maryland Code Annotated, Labor and Employment Article, Section 8-1001(c)(2). The employer testified that the claimant performed good work. Continuing work was available had the claimant not quit. The claimant voluntarily quit without good cause or valid circumstances. Hassanein v. OM SAI, Inc. 4267-BR-13.
C. Regarding Reasonableness of Employer's Actions
The claimant quit his job rather than face disciplinary action by the employer. The claimant knew he had been charged with alleged sexual harassment of female employees, but the employer withheld from the claimant the names of the complainants as well as the exact nature of the complaints. Because of this, it was impossible for the claimant to prove that the employer's suspension was unreasonable. In this case, the employer had the burden of proving that the disciplinary action was reasonable. The employer failed to meet this burden of proof. The claimant quit his job for good cause within the meaning of the statute. Hull v. Waste Management of Maryland, Inc., 677-BR-89.
The claimant quit because she received a reprimand. The claimant failed to prove that the reprimand was unreasonable or that it was given in a degrading, insulting or harassing manner. The claimant voluntarily quit without good cause or valid circumstances. Daughton v. Oxford Realty Services Corporation, 414-BR-91.
The claimant requested four days off and the employer would only agree to give her three days off. The employer's actions were reasonable given all the circumstances, including the claimant's failure to get a relief supervisor for the fourth day. After the employer refused the claimant's request, the claimant walked off the job and quit. The claimant quit without good cause or valid circumstances. Hebron v. Montgomery General Hospital, 78-BR-87.
The claimant voluntarily quit her job because she was uncomfortable with her supervisor’s conversation with her. The supervisor implied that the claimant was involved in an investigation concerning when or how certain narcotics were missing from her cart. The claimant was also uncomfortable with her supervisor’s statements about the claimant’s nursing license being at stake. The Board found that this was insufficient reason for good cause or valid circumstances. Adams v. SSC Glen Burnie North Arundel Operating Company LLC, 2825-BR-12.
The claimant voluntarily quit during a meeting. Prior to the meeting during which the claimant quit, the employer had no intention of reprimanding her, disciplining her or warning her. The employer simply wanted to discuss a situation which had occurred the previous day. The claimant reacted out of proportion to the scope and subject of the meeting, without a justifiable reason. The claimant made no attempt to resolve whatever grievance she had. She did not exhaust the alternatives available to her, but quit abruptly, immediately regretting that decision and attempting to rescind the resignation. The claimant may suffer from anxiety and this certainly may have exacerbated the situation. However, this does not establish valid circumstances when the claimant made no attempt to resolve the problem prior to quitting. Comegys v. Baltimore County, Maryland, 85-BR-13.