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Able to Work, Available for Work and Actively Seeking Work - Sections 8-903, 8-904, 8-907 - Maryland Unemployment Decisions Digest - Appeals

Introduction

The provisions dealing with a claimant's ability to work and availability for work are located in Sections 8-903, 8-904 and 8-907 of the Labor and Employment Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Section 8-903 provides that in order for a claimant to be eligible for benefits, the claimant shall be able to work, available for work and actively seeking work.

A claimant is able to work if he is physically and mentally capable of working. A claimant must be able to work at the time he initially files for benefits. A claimant with a temporary medical restriction, who then becomes able to work, can be eligible for benefits if he submits a physician's note verifying that the restriction is lifted.

The claimant does not necessarily need to be able to perform his or her past work in order to be considered able to work. If a claimant can no longer perform former work, an assessment will be made of the claimant's ability to work based on the following factors: (1) the type of work formerly done by the claimant; (2) the type of work the claimant is capable of performing at the time the claims in issue were filed; (3) the type of work sought in light of the medical restrictions on the claimant; and (4) the existence of a market for the kind of work done by the claimant.

A claimant who is restricted from performing certain work is not disqualified under Section 8-903 if he shows that he is able to do other work and is in fact seeking this other work.

Section 8-903(b) states that the Secretary may not use the disability of a qualified individual with a disability as a factor in finding that an individual is not able to work, available for work, or actively seeking work under Subsection (a)(i) or (3) of this section.

Section 8-903 requires that in order to be eligible for benefits, a claimant must be available for work. A claimant who is free to accept a full-time job during the customary hours of that job is "available" for work.

Section 8-903(a)(4) as amended effective March 1, 2011, provides that a part-time worker may not be determined to be ineligible for the receipt of benefits if the individual is able to work: (i) hours that are comparable to the individual's work at the time of the most recent separation from part-time employment; and (ii) at least 20 hours per week.

The third requirement of Section 8-903 is that the claimant, “actively seek work." In determining whether a claimant is actively seeking work, the statute directs the Secretary to consider: (1) whether the claimant has made an effort that is reasonable and that would be expected of an unemployed individual who is honestly looking for work; and (2) the extent of the effort in relation to the labor market conditions in the area in which the claimant is seeking work.

Other factors which can affect whether or not a claimant is actively seeking work are the number of job contacts made per week and the location of the job contacts.

Able to Work, Available for Work and Actively Seeking Work - Sections 8-903, 8-904, 8-907

I. In General

A. Definition
The term "available for work" as used in Section 8-903 means, among other things, that a claimant is actively seeking work. The term refers to a general willingness to work demonstrated by an active and reasonable search to obtain work. Plaugher v. Preston Trucking, 279-BH-84.

B. Exemptions

1. Short-Term Layoffs

a. Less than 10 weeks
The statute exempts certain claimants from actively seeking work. Section 8-904(a) allows employees to be exempt from the requirement of actively seeking work if the employer closes its entire plant or part of its plant for inventory, vacation or another purpose that will cause unemployment for a definite period not exceeding ten weeks and if the circumstances and labor market conditions justify the exemption.

A claimant who is temporarily laid off for a certain period of less than ten weeks may be exempt from actively seeking work during the layoff. However, Section 8-904 does not exempt a laid off worker from being able to work and available for work. Spaniard, 409-BR-84.

NewAs of the week beginning July 3, 2011, the claimant received a letter from his employer advising that he was being returned to work in two weeks. At that point, the claimant was no longer required to seek other employment. The Board applied the principal in the Spaniard case, 409-BR-84, which provides that a worker who is temporarily laid off for a certain period of less than ten weeks may be exempt from actively seeking work during the layoff. To expect the claimant to continue to seek other employment during this two-week period would have been illogical and fruitless. Huskins, 6077-BR-11.

b. Less than 26 weeks
Section 8-904(b) allows employees to be exempt from the work search requirement whenever an employer closes its entire plant or part of its plant for a purpose other than inventory or vacation that will cause unemployment for a definite period not to exceed 26 weeks if: (1) the employer and affected employees jointly request the exemption; (2) the employer provides that all affected employees shall return to work within 26 weeks; and (3) the Secretary determines that the exemption will promote productivity and economic stability within the state.

Approved Training Programs
Section 8-903(c) allows an individual who is otherwise eligible for benefits to forego the requirement of making job contacts if the individual is participating in a training program approved by the Secretary.

The claimant attended the East Side Occupational Center for training and was granted a waiver of the requirement of seeking work under Section 8-903 for the period until she completed the course. No disqualification was appropriate under Section 8-903 as the claimant was in an approved training program. Schlimm v. Aetna Shirt Company, 241-BH-86.

A claimant who has been found to be in training approved by the Secretary need not meet the availability requirements of Section 8-903. Kincer, 2125-BR-93.

The claimant was in training approved by the Secretary under Section 8-903. No disqualification was imposed. The Board has no authority to approve training programs under Section 8-903. Sather, 829-BR-87.

The claimant was not engaged in approved training and was not exempt from the work search requirements of Section 8-903. Neither the hearing examiner nor the Board has the authority to waive these requirements. Charron, 1119-BR-90.

D. Part-Time Employment
As amended effective March 1, 2011, a part-time worker may not be determined to be ineligible for the receipt of benefits. See Introduction to this section.

The claimant, who qualified as a disabled person under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the State of Maryland, was seeking part-time employment. This was considered a reasonable search for work, given her physical limitations and her work history. She was found to be able, available and actively seeking work without limitation. Scribner v. Anthropologie Inc., 259-BH-03.

NewThe claimant was employed as a part-time, administrative and office worker. The claimant self-restricted her work to 20 to 30 hours per week when performing work for this employer because she suffers from chronic lower back pain and fibromyalgia. Despite these medical conditions, the claimant is not under a physician’s medical restriction which would limit her ability to perform sedentary office or administrative work. Since filing her claim for benefits, the claimant has not sought full-time work and has restricted her search to part-time work only. The Board is not persuaded that the claimant suffers from a recognized “disability” which requires an accommodation from the requirement that she be able and available for full-time employment. The Board relied on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of “disability”. The Board is persuaded that although the claimant has some physical limits on her work activities, these restrictions do not substantially limit the major life activity of working. In order to prove her ability to work has been substantially impaired, the claimant must show a disability that significantly restricts her ability to perform a broad class of jobs, not that she is only unable to perform a particular position. The Board finds that the MVA grant to the claimant of a license plate for “Persons with a Disability” is not persuasive or dispositive. The Board is persuaded that the claimant’s restrictions upon her availability for work is self-imposed and that there is insufficient evidence that she is unable to work full-time. The Board found that the claimant was not able to work, available for work and actively seeking work within the meaning of Section 8-909. Carpenter v. Family and Nursing Care, Inc., 2315-BH-07. (ADA applicability and limits on A&A issue).

NewAt the time the claimant opened her claim for unemployment benefits, she was experiencing medical issues with her right eye and was under the care of a physician. The claimant’s doctor had advised her that she should not work more than four hours a day. The claimant did not know how long this limitation would be in effect. The facts of this case are a case of first impression for the Board. The Board finds that the hearing examiner’s application of the law and conclusion is the antithesis of Section 8-903(b). The Board finds no support in the unemployment insurance law which requires that an individual who is willing and able to work to the full extent of her disability seek traditional “full-time” work. The claimant credibly testified that she has no restrictions on her ability to perform the jobs that she has been seeking subject to working no more than four hours per day because of her disability. The Board held that the claimant is able to work, available for work and actively seeking work within the meaning of Section 8-903. Trambadia v. Peak Technologies, Inc., 472-BR-09. (Qualified individual within the limits of a disability)

C. Scope of Section 8-903 Penalty
The refusal of employment at a single place of employment could properly justify a disqualification under Section 8-1005 (refusal of suitable work), but should not bring about a disqualification under Section 8-903. Adams, et al. v. Cambridge Wire Cloth Company, 264-BH-82.

A disqualification under Section 8-903 ends when the claimant is released by the doctor to return to work, not when the agency learns of the release. Dean v. High's of Baltimore, Inc., 429-BR-89.

A claimant should not be penalized for not being able to work during weeks for which she never intended to apply for benefits. Ready, 1224-BH-92.

D. Effect of Private Agreements
An agreement between an employer and employee, or the employee and his union, does not bind the agency in the application of Section 8-903. An employer offering part-time, intermittent work cannot by practice, contract or otherwise, define for its laid off workers the requirements of Section 8-903. Weaver v. Roadway Express, 942-BR-81.

E. Temporary Agencies
A claimant who fails to seek part-time work, even after having worked for a temporary agency, is not disqualified under Section 8-903 as long as he is seeking full-time, permanent work. A claimant who once works for a temporary agency is not forever bound to seek temporary or part-time work in order to remain eligible for unemployment benefits. Millner v. Personnel Industries, Inc., 1120-BR-88. See, COMAR 09.32.02.07-2, effective October 1, 1995.

When a claimant is diligently searching for permanent work, a refusal of various temporary assignments which would hinder the search is not disqualifying. Godfrey v. Barrett Business Services, Inc., 1148-BR-88.

The fact that a claimant was unable to take a temporary assignment because she had an interview for a full-time job is not disqualifying under the unemployment insurance law. Fleishman v. Temps and Company, Inc., 602-BR-92.

A claimant was able to work and available for work, even though she made a decision not to contact a temporary agency for work during a specific week, because she was seeking full-time work during that week. McDermott v. Xelsen, Inc., 1625-BR-92.

II. Ability to Work - Health

A. Physical Restrictions and Limitations

1. In General
A claimant laboratory technician who could not stand for a prolonged period of time due to an injury met the eligibility requirements of Section 8-903 where she was looking for laboratory work which did not require standing, in addition to clerical and receptionist work for which she had some experience. Waring v. Burton Parsons, Inc., 847-BH-81.

The claimant's reclassification by the agency itself was sufficient to show an adequate number of light clerk and/or cashiering jobs available in the economy. Surguy v. Forest Service, 10-BH-86.

A claimant who is restricted from performing certain work is not disqualified under Section 8-903 if he shows that he is able to do other work and is, in fact, seeking other work that he is capable of performing during the time he has the restriction. Connor v. City of Baltimore, 416-BR-87.

When severe limitations are placed upon a claimant's ability to work, the claimant has the burden of showing not only that she was seeking work, but seeking work that she could do, given her limitations. Swafford v. U.S. Postal Service, 252-BH-89.

A claimant need not be able to do every type of work that she has ever done in order to be able to work within the meaning of Section 8-903. Where the claimant remained able to do the type of work which she had customarily performed on a full-time basis, that claimant was not disqualified under Section 8-903 for being unable to perform an additional type of work which she customarily performed on a part-time basis. Werle v. Giant of Landover, Inc., 2170-BR-92.

NewA claimant with dermatitis is not rendered unable to work, nor is she substantially restricting her availability to work by attending school two days a week to obtain a GED. A high school diploma is highly desirable in today’s job market and the lack thereof is a substantial bar to most employment opportunities. Wright, 1135-BR-03.

NewA claimant who had been discharged by an employer for a non-disqualifying reason and who was a “qualified individual with a disability” as a result of the “end stage renal disease, hypertension and anemia” was not disqualified due to requiring hemodialysis at least three times per week on the basis of the dialysis placing a limit on the claimant’s ability to work, availability for work or her seeking of work. Speller v. Potomac Home Support Inc., 1506-SE-03.

NewThe claimant, who suffered from chronic low back pain and fibromyalgia, restricted her prior work to twenty to thirty hours per week as an administrative office worker. The claimant was not under a physician’s medical restriction and was not “disabled” within the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Board found that the claimant “self-restricted” herself and had not sought full-time work. The Board did not find the Motor Vehicle Administration’s granting a “Persons with a Disability” license plate to the claimant persuasive or dispositive. Carpenter v. Family and Nursing Care Inc., 2315-BH-2007.

NewThe claimant obtained a part-time job as a pizza delivery driver, which was outside of his usual profession of business manager. The claimant was in an automobile accident and his doctor directed him not to perform the duties of a pizza delivery driver. There was insufficient evidence that the claimant was prohibited from seeking work in his usual profession of business manager. Pursuant to the Order of the Circuit Court for Harford County, and after a review of the record, the Board found that the claimant was under no medical restriction for seeking and accepting work in his customary profession. Mrockowski v. Papa John’s USA Inc., 185-BR-11.

NewWhen filing his claim for benefits, the claimant accidentally pushed the wrong button on his friend’s cell phone to indicate that he was not actively seeking work during the week in question. In fact, the claimant made at least ten job contacts for the week in question. The claimant provided a list of his job contacts made that week with his original appeal. The Board held that the claimant met his burden of demonstrating that he was able, available and actively seeking work. Mundy, 5039-BR-11. (Error in filing claim)

NewThe claimant established a benefit year effective November 3, 2013. Since November 10, 2013, the claimant has been seeking work as a clerk, delivery person or cleaner for which the customary hours of employment are 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM. The claimant is 85 years old. The claimant is seeking full-time and part-time work. The claimant has made 15 job contacts since opening his claim for unemployment benefits. The claimant proved by a preponderance of the evidence that he is able, available and actively seeking work. He has no physical limitations on his ability to do the jobs in the areas of clerk, cleaner or delivery person. There is no limitation on the claimant’s availability. The claimant made reasonable efforts to apply for work in the areas that he is likely to find work. Black, 3082-BR-14. (Age alone cannot be a bar to receiving benefits)

NewThe claimant established a benefit year beginning June 16, 2013. The medical documentation entered into evidence only restricted the claimant from working as a bricklayer for three months beginning May 30, 2013. The claimant had a broken finger. The claimant had no other restrictions on his ability to work. The Maryland Unemployment Law does not require a claimant to be able to work at his most recent occupation or any occupation in particular. What is required is that the claimant be able to work without any substantial restrictions. No evidence was presented to establish that the claimant was so disabled that he could not work in any employment. The Board allowed benefits from the week beginning June 16, 2013. Harvey, 1465-BR-14.

2. Avoidance of Stress or Strain
Although the claimant's physician advised the claimant to avoid jobs which would subject him to "undue stress or strain," this limitation was not disqualifying under Section 8-903, considering the claimant's work history and more than adequate job search. Fried v. Suburban Bank, 29-BR-84.

3. Physical Inability to Do Work
NOTE: Effective October 1, 1993, the General Assembly amended Section 8-903(b) to state that the Secretary may not use the disability of a qualified individual with a disability as a factor in finding that an individual is not able to work under section 8-903(a)(l)(i).

The claimant, who had knee surgery and was restricted from working at her previous job but could do sedentary work, was able and available for work under Section 8-903 where she had experience in the clerical field and diligently applied for work in this field. Yancy v. Gay Kiddie Shop, Inc., 1575-BH-91.

A claimant cannot open a claim for unemployment insurance benefits on the day that he has surgery scheduled and claim that he was able, available and actively seeking work that day. Brooker v. Locust Lane Farms, Inc., 2551-BR-94.

The claimant's "disability" of "mental impairment" was not used as a factor in finding that the claimant was able to work. However, the claimant admitted that she was not available for work nor was she actively seeking work as the law requires. Therefore, she would still be disqualified under Article 8, Section 903. Laughard, 1119-BH-98

A claimant demonstrated that, other than the restrictions placed upon her by her physician which constituted a "disability", she was otherwise able and available for full-time work. The claimant's disability resulted in her having to use a cane and avoid prolonged periods of standing. But for her disability, the claimant was otherwise qualified for benefits. Therefore, the claimant was meeting the requirements of the law. Disalvo v. Hairstylists Mgmt. Systems, Inc., 2423-BR-96.

The claimant became unemployed due to the closing of a small law practice for which she worked. During her employment, the claimant became afflicted with fibromyalgia. Because of that medical condition, her employer made accommodations which included, but was not limited to, the placing of the claimant on a flexible part-time schedule. The claimant is willing to work and searched for work since becoming unemployed. Her search was consistent with the accommodations made for the claimant by her former employer due the claimant's disability. The Board held that the claimant suffered from a medical disability and pursuant to Labor & Employment Article, Section 8-903(b) should not be denied benefits because of "disability-related" restrictions. Morrell, 1909-SE-00.

NewDespite a physician’s certificate stating that the claimant was unable to work following cataract surgery, the claimant continued to work her part-time employment as a bartender while continuing an unrestricted search for work. The claimant was considered able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work without restriction. Schanberger, 2060-BR-02.

NewThe claimant, who qualified as a disabled person under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the State of Maryland, was seeking part-time employment. This was considered a reasonable search for work, given her physical limitations and her work history. She was found to be able, available and actively seeking without limitation. Scribner v. Anthropologie Inc., 259-BH-03.

NewThe claimant filed for unemployment insurance benefits establishing a benefit year effective January 22, 2012. The claimant had been seeking work as a nurse since filing her unemployment claim. Prior to filing her claim, she was under the care of a doctor, but was released for work without restriction on January 18, 2012. She has no material restriction upon her ability or availability for work. She has made at least two job contacts per week as required by law since filing for benefits. The Board held that the claimant is able, available and actively seeking work and benefits are allowed from the week beginning January 22, 2012. Angle, 3987-SE-13.

NewThe claimant filed a claim for unemployment benefits establishing a benefit year effective December 23, 2012. The claimant had knee replacement surgery in November 2012. The claimant was released to return to work as of February 26, 2013. The Board held that the claimant was disqualified from receiving benefits from the week beginning December 23, 2012 through the week ending February 23, 2013. Everd, 2250-BR-13.

B. Pregnancy
The claimant was able and available to work when she was pregnant; she was not disabled. Shepard, 637-BR-91.

The pregnant claimant became unable to perform her duties as a cook which required heavy lifting up to 50 pounds, and therefore left her employment. The claimant continued to seek lighter work for which she was qualified and had experience. The claimant was able to work at a wide range of jobs for which she was qualified and therefore no disqualification was imposed under Section 8-903. However, a disqualification was imposed during the seven-week period in which the claimant was unable to work due to her advanced stage of pregnancy and during her postpartum recovery period. Hill v. Whitey and Dot's, 718-BH-84.

NewAt the time the claimant filed for benefits, she was pregnant and her doctor had restricted her from heavy lifting, pushing or pulling. The claimant’s job as a behavioral tech involved working with emotionally disabled individuals who sometimes act out. The job required that she be able to lift up to 50 pounds. The Board, relying on Hill v. Whitey and Dot’s, 718-BH-84, held that the fact that the claimant was pregnant and merely restricted from lifting does not preclude her from performing other duties associated with her job training. In fact, the claimant increased her hours at her part-time job, where she performed identical duties as those performed for the full-time employer. The claimant’s pregnancy did not restrict her availability or ability to work. Jackson v. Chimes, Inc., 3936-BR-11.

NewThe claimant was pregnant. Effective April 7, 2013, the claimant was advised by her doctor that it was not safe for her to continue to fly during the late stages of her pregnancy. She requested a ground assignment, however, it was not available and she was placed on maternity leave. While on leave, the claimant began seeking work as a secretary or bookkeeper. She had performed this type of work in the past and was able to perform this type of work with the restrictions imposed by her doctor. She gave birth to her child on May 5, 2013. She elected to take additional leave to care for her child. The Board found that the claimant was able, available and actively seeking work from April 7, 2013 until she had her baby on May 5, 2013. There was insufficient evidence that the claimant was able, available and actively seeking work from the week beginning May 5, 2013 or that the claimant was released by her physician for work. Benefits were allowed from April 7, 2013 through May 4, 2013. Benefits were denied from the week beginning May 5, 2013 until meeting the requirements of the law. Bremermann v. Southwest Airlines Company, 3834-BR-13.

NewThe specific issue here is whether the claimant was able to work, not the narrower question of whether the claimant was able to perform the regular duties of her existing job. The proper criteria for this issue involve consideration as to whether the claimant is able to perform the duties of a job which is within the claimant’s training, education and experience. The fact that the claimant may have been unable to perform certain duties within one job does not make her unable to work within the meaning of Section 8-903. Because of her pregnancy, the claimant was not able to perform the heavy lifting required of her current position with this employer. The employer placed her on a medical leave pending further information from her doctor. The claimant remained able to perform a variety of other functions. She simply could not lift heavy items as was needed. The claimant was unable to perform some duties of her job; the claimant was not unable to work. Therefore, the claimant is not ineligible for the receipt of benefits under Section 8-903. George v. Whole Foods Market, 1368-BR-12.

NewThe claimant gave birth to her child September 23, 2011. The claimant provided medical documentation that she was released from her doctor’s care without restrictions effective November 17, 2011. The Board held that the claimant was not able to work from September 18, 2011 through November 19, 2011. However, benefits were allowed effective November 20, 2011. Wright, 2221-BR-12.

NewThe Board found that from February 25, 2011 until April 4, 2011, the claimant was unable to work because of her pregnancy and postpartum recovery period. The claimant was able to work effective April 5, 2011. Therefore, the claimant has been able, available and actively seeking work without restrictions since that date. Benefits were denied from February 26, 2011 through April 2, 2011. Benefits were allowed from April 3, 2011. Jett, 2085-BH-12.

C. Chronic Health Problems
No disqualification was imposed under Section 8-903 based upon the claimant's chronic health problems which did not prevent her from doing work in the past. Ruckman v. Wheaton Plaza Merchants Association, 401-BR-84.

NewThe claimant suffered an allergy to cardboard materials. The claimant cannot work in occupations where contact with these materials is a condition of employment. The claimant is otherwise able to perform full-time work subject to her allergy restrictions. The Board found insufficient evidence to support a finding that these medical restrictions are a material bar to her availability to find suitable work under Robinson v. Md. Empl. Sec. Bd., 202 Md. 515, 519 (1953). Green v. Rite Aid of Maryland, Inc., 2300-BR-11.

D. Temporary Illness
A claimant's illness for the better part of one day will not support a disqualification of benefits under Section 8-903 for the entire week. Cuff v. Chesapeake Plywood, 1356-BR-82.

NewThe claimant underwent surgery on January 5, 2012. The claimant’s doctor released her to full-time work without restrictions effective January 9, 2012. The Board held that the claimant was able to work, available for work and actively seeking work as of the date of her doctor’s release, January 9, 2012. The claimant’s eligibility for benefits should begin on the first day of that week, which was January 8, 2012. Punzo, 5283-BR-12.

NewThe Notice of Hearing included aspects which were beyond the benefit determination. The claimant did not have actual notice of the factual issues which would be adjudicated. The claimant could not reasonably have been expected to present competent evidence of any factual issue beyond her ability to work. The Board limits the scope of this decision to that issue. The claimant has been seeking work as a dental assistant and as a medical assistant. The claimant was restricted by her doctor from working May 4, 2012 through July 6, 2012. She was not eligible for benefits during that time. The hearing examiner erred in initiating the claimant’s ineligibility on April 30, 2012. The claimant was able to work for the majority of that week. Her restriction began on Friday, May 4, 2012; her ineligibility should have begun on Sunday, May 6, 2012. If the claimant has limitations on her availability or has not conducted an adequate work search, the Agency must adjudicate those factual issues and issue a benefit determination, or determinations, before any hearing may be held. The claimant is disqualified from benefits from the week beginning May 6, 2012 until the week ending July 7, 2012. Evans, 860-BR-13.

E. Health Problems Not Affecting Job Performance
Although officially restricted to light duty, if a claimant can perform all of the duties of her former job for up to 40 hours per week, is clearly capable of performing those jobs for which she was applying, and is capable of performing a wide range of jobs which are commonly available in the evening, she is able to work within the meaning of Section 8-903. White v. U.S. Postal Service, 534-BR-87.

Although the claimant suffered physical symptoms as a result of the stress of one particular job, he remained able to work at most positions and was therefore able and available under Section 8-903. Vallie, 860-BR-89.

NewThe claimant was terminated from his employment as a commercial truck driver because federal regulations prohibited drivers who are diabetic and taking insulin from operating as commercial truck drivers. The Board ruled that the claimant’s health situation was not a limitation on the claimant’s ability to work in a full-time capacity in other areas of employment. Mather v. McElroy Truck Lines, Inc., 744-BH-06.

NewThe claimant previously worked as a fork lift operator in a warehouse where the temperature exceeded 100 degrees. The claimant has high blood pressure and takes medication for this. The claimant’s doctor ordered him to cease working in these conditions because of medical problems related to his blood pressure and complications with his medicine. The claimant was not restricted from working other jobs in less harsh conditions. The Board found that the claimant was able, available and actively seeking work. Russell, 5247-BH-11.

F. Proof Required to Lift Penalty

1. Medical Release
NewThe Board found that the claimant was able and available for work from the date of his doctor’s release forward. Jennings v. Melwood Horticultural, 807-BR-11.

The claimant had broken her small toe, but it did not affect her ability to stand or perform the type of work she normally performed. The claimant's injury was so minimal that the requirement of producing a doctor's note was unreasonable. The law does not require or contemplate that apparently healthy people should be required to produce doctors' notes to verify that fact. To do so would place an onerous and unnecessary burden on those who are out of work and who need to devote their time to finding work again. The claimant was able to work. Blue, 1571-BR-93. (No need for a medical).

A doctor's note may be strong evidence of ability to work, but the presence or absence of a doctor's note does not absolve the fact finder from making a judgment on whether the claimant is meeting the requirements of Section 8-903. Blue, 1571-BR-93.

A doctor's note usually reaches only the issue of ability to work. There is no reason to expect a doctor's note to establish availability for work, or to disqualify a claimant because the note does not reach that issue. Whittington, 2037-BR-93.

NewEffective June 17, 2014, the claimant began a leave of absence from the employer due to having a stroke. The claimant provided medical documentation which states that the claimant was released by his doctor to return to work without restrictions as of July 30, 2014. The Board held that the claimant was able, available and actively seeking work. The claimant was eligible receive benefits from the week beginning August 3, 2014 so long as he meets the other requirements of the law. Nyberg v. Thompson Lincoln Mercury, Inc., 447-BR-15.

NewOn March 6, 2015, the claimant was hospitalized for a foot wound. He was under a doctor’s care for his wound through April 2014. The claimant last worked as a dishwasher. He also has a long history of working as a housekeeper and is seeking work in each field. The claimant was seeing other medical care providers for unrelated matters. None of those matters impaired the claimant’s ability to seek or accept work within the areas of his training, education and experience. The evidence from the hearing established that the claimant was able to work after being released by his doctor in April 2014. The claimant may have been seeking other medical professionals for a variety of reasons, but there was no evidence that he was not able to work as a consequence. Because the claimant’s physician did not specify a date in April 2014, the Board will use the end of April as a date upon which his restrictions ended. The Board held that the claimant is denied benefits from March 9, 2014 through May 3, 2014. The claimant was able to work and eligible to receive benefits from the week beginning May 4, 2014 so long as he is meeting the other requirements of the law. Walker, 176-BR-15.

NewThe claimant established a benefit year effective July 13, 2014. The claimant’s treating physician opined in a medical statement dated July 21, 2014 that the claimant is not able to work full-time without any restrictions due to diabetes. The claimant produced medical documentation signed by his physician which stated that the claimant was released for full-time work effective September 8, 2014. The Board has accepted the medical statement. The claimant was disqualified from receiving benefits from the week beginning July 13, 2014 through the week ending September 6, 2014. Allers, 3130-BR-14.

NewThe claimant established a benefit year February 17, 2013 after being laid off from her full-time job as an office manager with Bartlett Roofing. The claimant also had a part-time retail job with Wonder Books and Video. In December 2012, the claimant took a medical leave of absence from her part-time retail job. The part-time job required the claimant to stand for extended periods of time which was medically diagnosed as giving her sciatic nerve pain. The claimant, however, continued to work her full-time job without medical restriction until she was separated from employment. The claimant was not medically restricted from working at the time she filed for benefits and was never fully restricted from working in her regular field of employment. The hearing examiner erred by informing the claimant that the law requires that she provide medical documentation to support her un-contradicted testimony. Benefits were allowed from the week beginning February 17, 2013 McCulley v. Wonder Books & Video, Inc., 682-BR-14.

NewThe claimant filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits establishing a benefit year effective April 6, 2014. Since opening her claim, the claimant has been seeking work in the fields of administrative work, case management and property management. Prior to opening her claim, the claimant had been ill for a period of six months with bronchial asthma. However, the claimant was able to work as of the time she opened her claim for benefits. The claimant produced medical documentation from her doctor stating that she was able to work full time as of March 19, 2014. The Board held that the claimant is able to work, available for work and actively seeking work within the meaning of Section 8-903. Benefits are allowed from the week beginning April 6, 2014. Matthewsguy v. American Beauty Academy, Inc., 896-BR-15.

NewThe claimant established a benefit year effective September 21, 2014. The claimant has been seeking work as a CDL driver, in the retail field in home improvement centers and in automobile sales. The claimant was a beer truck driver for this employer, a job that required lifting hundreds of beer cases daily. He tore his rotator cuff and was limited in the amount of weight he could lift. He was released by his doctor to return to work without restrictions as of October 10, 2014. The Board held that the claimant was able to work, available for work and actively seeking work. Benefits were allowed from the week beginning October 12, 2014. Benefits were denied from September 21, 2014 through October 11, 2014. Kisner v. Montgomery County Government, 18-BR-15.

2. Other Evidence
A claimant's actual return to full-time work demonstrates that the claimant is "able to work," even though no medical evidence is submitted. Braddock v. Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, 101-BR-85. (Return to full-time work).

The claimant is able and available under Section 8-903 where there is insufficient evidence to refute the claimant's testimony that he is able to work and where it is easy to observe the effects of the claimant's injury. Mays v. American Concrete, Inc., 1330-BR-91.

NewThe claimant established a benefit year effective August 10, 2014. The claimant presented a copy of her United States of America Employment Authorization Card dated as valid from January 2, 2015 until January 1, 2016. The Board held that the claimant is legally permitted to work in the United States and had no substantial restrictions on her ability to work as of January 2, 2015. The Board held that the claimant is able to work, available for work and actively seeking work within the meaning of Section 8-903. Benefits were allowed from the week beginning January 4, 2015. Seplah, 1345-BR-15. (Valid U.S. work permit).

III. Availability for Work

A. In General
A claimant's three days of unavailability for work over a four-week period does not establish that she didn't meet the requirements of Section 8-903. Marsch, 554-BR-88.

The claimant was available for work under Section 8-903 where there were only a few hours per week during one evening when the claimant was not available for work, and where his work history shows in general an ability to conform to the requirements of a normal work day and also attend school on a flexible, part-time schedule. Dawson v. Bayliner Marine Corporation, 360-BR-90.

The claimant accepted a bona fide offer of employment. As a condition of employment, she was required to participate for a number of weeks in a training program for which no wages were paid. It is contrary to the intent of the unemployment insurance law to deny a claimant benefits under Section 8-903 in these circumstances. Hradsky, 1827-BR-95. (Unpaid training period).

NewThe Board ruled that a claimant who was in Hawaii for 13 days attending her daughter’s wedding was not able to work, not available for work nor actively seeking work even though the claimant had her house sitter-mail out resumes. The claimant was not available for a job interview during her absence nor could she report to work if hired. Moxley, 1164-BR-06

B. Work-Related Issues

1. Hours of Work
It is inaccurate to say that a claimant must be willing to work any and all shifts. The relevant question is whether a claimant is reasonably available for work to the extent that a person actually desiring to work and making it the highest priority in his or her life would be. Harwell, 1861-BR-92.

No disqualification is imposed upon a claimant who worked all available hours of which he was actually aware, although the employer was unsuccessful in reaching the claimant by telephone with additional intermittent work on several occasions. There is no requirement that the claimant be available to answer every phone call, since the claimant is actually required in most cases to be out of the home looking for work. Weaver v. Roadway Express, 942-BR-81.

The claimant was not available for work until she relaxed her restriction against working evening hours. The type of work she sought and her previous employment both required evening hours. Chambers v. Fannin and Walker Services, Inc., 657-BH-88.

The claimant, who was not available for night work because of serious personal problems, was not disqualified for benefits under Section 8-903 where the claimant's experience and job search were sufficiently broad and most jobs for which she applied were conducted during the daytime hours. Spence, 986-BR-90.

NewThe claimant was the supervisor of bus maintenance, working 12:00 am to 8:00 am. After he had a seizure, his doctor restricted him to daytime work only. The claimant quit because the employer did not give him a daytime shift. The Board held that the claimant was able and available for work. He had experience and training as a manufacturing supervisor and these positions are available during the daytime. It would be unreasonable to expect the claimant to accept work for a shift his doctor advised him to avoid. Bartenfelder v. Maryland Transportation Administration, 1163-BR-11.

NewThe claimant was seeking work as an administrative assistant, receptionist, IT service desk worker or security worker. The customary hours were 8:00 am to 5:00 pm for clerical work and 24/7 for IT and security work. The hearing examiner found that because the claimant was not available for work 24 hours per day, she was not eligible for benefits. The Board found that the types of work which the claimant was seeking are primarily conducted during daytime hours. A claimant is not required or expected to be available for all work, at all times, in order to satisfy the eligibility requirements. A claimant is expected to be reasonably available during the hours customary to his or her regular occupation. The claimant here satisfied that requirement. Pressey, 2727-BR-11.

NewThe claimant’s usual occupation is as a registered nurse. Due to some prior physical limitations, the claimant cannot work as a bedside nurse because she cannot lift patients. The claimant has not worked as a bedside nurse for nine years. The claimant also cannot work evening or overnight shifts because disruptions in her sleep pattern worsen her pre-existing depression. The claimant has worked for many years as a registered nurse without performing bedside duties and is seeking a variety of nursing positions of a similar nature. Many nursing positions do not require bedside duties. The claimant is available for all daytime positions and has no other restrictions on her availability. The Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law does not require the claimant to be available for work all hours of all days of the week. The law requires a claimant to be available during hours the work she seeks is offered. Nursing positions suitable to the claimant’s training, education, experience and ability are offered all hours of all days, and the claimant is fully available during daytime hours. The Board held that the claimant is able, available and actively seeking work. Meyer, 544-BR-14.

2. Restrictions Caused by Other Employment

a. Accepting Part-Time Work
The unemployment insurance law was not intended to punish people who are otherwise able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work merely because they accept part-time work, rather than remain idle. Helmstetter v. U.S. Postal Service, 1507-BR-82.

The acceptance of part-time employment will not normally serve as a reason to disqualify a claimant from the receipt of unemployment insurance benefits under Section 8-903, unless a claimant deliberately obtains part-time work for the purpose of avoiding full-time work. Salomon, 838-BR-83.

NewThe claimant is performing services for the employer, in a part-time capacity, for which he is paid commissions. He works 25 to 28 hours per week trying to sell insurance. The claimant is not occupied on a full-time basis in his pursuit and has been maintaining an active and appropriate work search. The claimant is not precluded from accepting an offer of suitable work from another employer because of this work or because of any other restriction or limitation. The Board held that the claimant has met his burden of demonstrating that he was able, available and actively seeking work. Banda v. American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, Inc., 5528-BR-12.

b. Self-Employment
A claimant who is operating a business out of her home is not automatically disqualified under Section 8-903 when she is actively seeking work, and is willing to cut back the hours of her home business to accommodate her full-time employment. Wiley, 453-BR-89.

The claimant, who engaged in self-employment for two hours per day, but was simultaneously searching for full-time employment, was able and available under Section 8-903. Lane, 832-BR-89.

The claimant is not meeting the eligibility requirements of the law where he is spending 25 hours per week trying to set up his own business, and contacting two to three employers per week in his job search. A claimant must not completely divest himself of his business to meet the requirements of Section 8-903, but a claimant who spends as much as 25 hours per week promoting his business, while making only two to three job contacts, is not meeting the Section 8-903 requirements. Veith, 34-BR-82.

A claimant who works two to three hours per day in self-employment, is able and available under Section 8-903 where the business is only intended as a sideline and the claimant is diligently looking for full-time work. Pequigny, 278-BR-90.

The claimant was looking for contracts, casual work and laboring work of any kind, both part-time and full-time, as both an employee and a contractor. He was able to work and available for work. Sansone, 1519-BR-93.

NewThe claimant became self-employed as a mental health therapist in 2008. In 2009, she earned $18,500 and in 2010, she earned $40,000. The claimant only began her self-employment because she had been unsuccessful in seeking other employment. The claimant works when she can secure clients. The claimant faxed multiple pages of work search records. These records demonstrated that she has been actively seeking work throughout. The claimant would cease accepting clients personally if she were offered employment. The Board does not find the claimant’s pursuit of self-employment to be a bar to her accepting full-time employment. The claimant has actively sought appropriate work since her unemployment began. The Board held that the claimant was able to work, available for work and actively seeking work. Greene, 914-BR-12.

c. Corporate Officer
It is appropriate to closely examine the eligibility of corporate officers under Section 8-903. Although a corporate officer spent up to one-half day, once every three weeks, on corporate business, he otherwise energetically sought work and no disqualification will be imposed. Fisher v. Fisher Products Corporation, 1043-BH-81.

3. Leave of Absence

a. Voluntary
A penalty under Section 8-903 should be applied where a claimant removes herself from the job pursuant to a voluntary leave of absence. In such a case, the claimant is not available for work under Section 8-903 until the expiration of the leave. Smith v. APG, Inc., 675-BR-88.

As part of the disposition of a disciplinary matter, the claimant agreed to take a leave of absence without pay for personal reasons. A claimant who voluntarily removes himself from the work force for a substantial period of time pursuant to a leave of absence granted at his request is not able and available under Section 8-903. Kinion v. Division of Parole and Probation, 649-BH-88.

Generally, when a claimant has taken a voluntary leave of absence, she is not able and available during the entire length of the leave, even if she is ready to return to work prior to the expiration of the leave, but the employer does not have a position available. However, when the employer fails to abide by the terms of the leave and hold open the claimant's position for the agreed-upon length of time, it would be unfair to hold the claimant to the terms of the leave of absence and find her unavailable for work until the expiration of the leave. Kachnowich v. Baltimore County, 1338-BR-92.

There is an exception to the general rule that a claimant is not available for work during the entire period of a leave of absence where the leave is for two years but the claimant returns after nine months, gets on a reinstatement list and seeks full-time work. Rahman v. State Highway Administration 291005001, 1721-BR-95.

b. Involuntary
The claimant injured her wrist in an off-the-job accident. The doctor released her for light duty work. The employer had no light duty work available. The claimant offered to return to her regular job, but the employer, fearing a re-injury, refused to allow her to do so. The employer continued the claimant on an unpaid leave of absence. While on the leave of absence, the claimant sought other work for which she was qualified, thereby meeting the requirements of Section 8-903. Lewis v. Minneapolis Postal Data Center, 1175-BH-88.

NewThe claimant was on a leave of absence from her job because she had to have her nursing assistant license reinstated. The claimant knew it could be a lengthy process. She was willing to work at other types of employment while she pursued recertification. The claimant was making at least two job contacts each week. She was seeking work as a dining services worker, as well as working in nursing-related jobs that do not require licensing. The fact that the claimant could not return to her prior job until she was able to resolve the difficulty with her license did not preclude her from working in some other capacity for some other employer in the interim. The Board held that the claimant has shown that she is able to work, available for work and actively seeking work at all times material to this decision. Bowman v. Ardleigh Nursing Home, Inc., 821-BR-12.

4. Future Employment
The claimant LPN, who was pregnant, was placed on an involuntary leave of absence because she could not lift over 40 pounds. During the course of the claimant's unemployment, she sought other positions (such as bank teller and sales clerk), telling prospective employers that she intended to return to the field of nursing after her baby was born. No disqualification under Section 8-903 was imposed. It is inconsistent with the purpose of the unemployment insurance law to require a claimant to forego hope of employment or reemployment in the future in order to qualify for benefits, or to disqualify a claimant who has a date certain to return to work. Neither is Section 8-903 meant to disqualify a claimant on the grounds of "unavailability" for work solely because she honestly indicates to prospective employers the realities of her employment situation. Bentz v. Pleasant View Nursing Home, 411-BR-85.

The claimant was not unreasonably restricting her availability for work because she anticipated going into business with her husband sometime in the near future, and some of her prospective employers knew this when she applied for work. Koski v. Apex Associates, Inc., 1462-BR-91.

The claimant, who lost his job in January, 1991, and who had a bona fide offer to begin a new job on February 1, 1991, was not unreasonable in refusing another job offer as a bus driver at that time. However, two months later, when the original job offer was retracted, the claimant should have been willing to work full-time as a bus driver. Settle v. Bill Rohrbaugh's Charter Service Corporation, 1552-BR-91.

5. Isolated, Temporary Activity
A claimant's illness for the better part of one day, will not support a disqualification under Section 8-903 for the entire week. Isolated, fortuitous incidents do not establish, in and of themselves, unavailability for work the entire week. Cuff v. Chesapeake Plywood, 1356-BR-82.

Walking a picket line one day per week does not, in and of itself, necessarily disqualify that claimant under Section 8-903. Adams, et al. v. Cambridge Wire Cloth Company, 264-BH-82.

The claimant was able and available under Section 8-903 where she notified the local office that she would be unable to attend a scheduled interview because she would be out of town that day. The claimant was out of town only the day of the interview. Merritt, 1-BR-90.

C. Personal Issues

1. Family Matters

a. Child Care
NewThe claimant filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits effective June 10, 2012. She did not have child care in place until August 26, 2012. The Board held that child care is not needed until such time as the claimant has secured employment. It is not reasonable to expect an unemployed individual to place his or her child in and pay for day care while he/she is unemployed. Benefits were allowed from June 10, 2012. Duncan, 3100-BR-13.

There is no requirement that a babysitter be engaged while a claimant looks for work, as long as babysitting is available once the claimant finds a job. Mathes, 232-BR-93.

NewThe Board found that the claimant was able and available for work where she credibly testified that although she had a young child attending kindergarten and the claimant was responsible for transporting the child to school, if the claimant found adequate full-time employment, she would find adequate child care for her daughter. Peery v. Board of Education of Baltimore County, 200-BR-11.

NewThe claimant was applying for employment during the day shift and during the week. However, she was willing to take an evening or weekend shift if it becomes available. She has a preference for weekly day hours, but is available for all other times. She has back-up child care for those times. She had child care issues for one day when her child care facility was closed due to illness. One day of being unavailable due to child care issues does not preclude the claimant’s availability. The claimant met her burden of demonstrating that she was able, available and actively seeking work. Moulden v. United in Action LLC, 5722-BR-11.

NewAfter the claimant was laid off from her job as a full-time teacher, she sought full-time suitable work. The claimant was unable to find a full-time job and signed up as a part-time substitute teacher. The claimant continued to search for a full-time job. Due to financial restraints, the claimant limited her availability for her part-time work to hours that did not require her to place her children in child care. The claimant did not limit her availability for long-term substitute jobs. The claimant continued to make at least two job contacts per week. The claimant continued to make efforts to return to work full-time without any restrictions. The Board finds the hearing examiner erred when determining that the claimant was not available to work when referencing her part-time position. The claimant was available without restriction for full-time work. It is the clear intention of the unemployment statute to encourage people to work, even part time if that is all that is available and to provide partial benefits where appropriate, as long as they are still able and available for full-time work. The Board held the claimant met her burden to demonstrate that she was able, available and actively seeking work. Byers v. Frederick County Board of Education, 2690-BR-13.

NewThe claimant established a benefit year effective March 9, 2014. He has been seeking work as a warehouseman or asbestos remover, for which the customary hours of employment are all hours. The claimant was not available for work during the 11:00 PM to 7:30 AM shift due to the fact that his wife worked that shift and he was needed at home to care for their children. The Board notes that day care is not readily available for those night time hours and it would make no sense for the claimant’s employed wife to quit her job so as to allow the claimant to accept employment during those hours. The Board held that the claimant is able, available and actively seeking work and allowed benefits from the week beginning March 9, 2014. Hodge v. 1st Team Temporaries, Inc., 2254-BR-14. (Night time day care).

b. Illness of Child
The claimant was not available for work nor actively seeking work during weeks in which the claimant was without a babysitter and had to care for her ill child herself. Buchanan v. Bata Shoe Company, 2006-SE-83.

It is not a restriction on a claimant's availability to work if the claimant states that she would be required to pick up her child if the child becomes ill or the child's school closes unexpectedly. Ensey, 1355-BR-94.

c. Elder Care
NewThe claimant went to Louisiana to be with his mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. There are no restrictions upon the claimant’s availability for full-time work as there are other family members available to care for claimant’s mother should full-time work materialize for the claimant. The claimant is not restricting his job search or limiting his availability and has made an active search for employment. Kushindana v. Office of Employment Development, 1142-BH-02.

NewThe claimant was on an extended leave of absence because she needed time off to care for her husband who was seriously ill, and after he passed, to mourn him. The claimant was not available for work. If she had been available for work, she had a job to which she could have gone. That the claimant did not work, albeit for very good reasons, clearly established her unavailability for work. There was no evidence that the claimant would have worked at all during this period for any employer or for any reason. The claimant’s employer had work available for the claimant. The claimant did not want to work and had no intention of working during this six-week period. A claimant, who is not willing to work, is not available for work, regardless of why she has chosen not to work. Faulstich v. Artcraft Collection, Inc., 1594-BH-12.

NewThe claimant provides care for her elderly mother. The claimant has done this while fully employed in the past and would continue to do so. The claimant would prefer to work the mid-day shift, evening shift or night shift, as these shifts allow her greater flexibility in caring for her mother. The claimant is willing to accept work on any shift and has applied for positions on all shifts. When the claimant obtains full-time employment, she will make whatever arrangements necessary so that her mother has care. The claimant is in the nursing field and positions are available at all hours of all days of the week. The claimant merely expressed a preference for certain hours, but she could and would work any shift for which she has an offer of employment. A preference is not a limiting factor. The Board has never held that a claimant must be available for work all hours of all days of each week. The Board finds the claimant is not unduly restricting her availability for work and benefits are allowed. Alter, 1831-BR-14. (Expressing a preference for a particular shift is not disqualifying under 8-903).

d. Self-Imposed Restrictions
Even though she severely limited the geographical area in which she was looking for work, the claimant was able to make the required job contacts for a period of time and was eligible for benefits under Section 8-903. However, once she exhausted any reasonable possibilities of employment in her limited geographical area, her failure to expand her work search area resulted in her being unavailable for work. At that point, the claimant became ineligible under Section 8-903. Brunner, 199-BR-89. (Geographic restrictions).

NewThe claimant had a history of working part-time for this employer. The evidence established that the claimant had the ability to accommodate the employer’s request for additional hours, so long as she was given sufficient notice to make proper arrangements for the care of her aunt. The claimant’s personal situation does not significantly interfere with her availability for work as requested by the employer. Clearly, the claimant cannot accept work without advance notice, but that alone does not make her unavailable for work. McDougald v. YMCA of Central Maryland, Inc., 1543-BR-11. (Need for notice of scheduled work).

NewThe claimant is available for work from early morning until 8:00 pm each day. She is only unavailable overnight because of her small children. The factual issue, set forth in the benefit determination, was whether the claimant’s self-limitation to daytime hours rendered her unavailable for work under the law. The Maryland Unemployment Law does not require the claimant to be available for work all hours of all days of the week. The law requires a claimant to be available during hours the work she seeks is offered. The claimant is seeking warehouse work, retail work, clerical work, cashiering work and temporary assignments for a variety of jobs. She is seeking employment in fields where work is offered all hours of the day. The claimant has only removed about 10 hours each day from her availability, leaving a majority of each day open to employment opportunities. The Board finds that the claimant’s restriction on hours of work does not impose an undue limitation on her availability to accept offered full-time work. Smith, 536-BR-14. (Restricting hours available each day).

NewThe claimant has several medical conditions, including sciatica and lupus. The claimant receives dialysis treatment on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:00 am until 10:00 am. She is available to work 25 to 32 hours per week. She has only worked part-time hours during the course of her employment. She is looking for part-time positions as a nursing home receptionist, data entry clerk and/or customer service representative. The Board finds that the claimant is a qualified individual with a disability who is a part-time worker. The Board disagrees that the claimant must be available for part-time work on a 24/7 basis in order to be eligible for benefits. Because the law must be read liberally in favor of coverage and disqualification provisions must be strictly construed, the Board finds that the claimant, who is otherwise able to work part-time, cannot be punished for receiving necessary treatment three days per week. The claimant has four other days in which to seek and accept part-time employment. The Board does not find the claimant’s medical treatment accommodation disqualifying. Benefits are allowed from the week beginning October 27, 2013. Owens v. Oakview SNF LLC, 2108-BR-14. (Work history of part-time work only)

e. Transportation
The lack of a driver's license does not automatically show that a claimant is not able and available for work. Evans v. Potomac Insulation, Inc., 696-BR-83.

Where a claimant does not have private transportation, but is willing to accept work at any location which can be reached by public transportation within the normal working day, no disqualification is imposed under Section 8-903. Ervin v. Government Service Savings and Loan, 297-BR-85.

It is not necessary for a claimant to own a working automobile in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits, and no disqualification can be imposed so long as the claimant is making a reasonable and active search for work. Armstrong, 1142-BR-89.

The fact that the claimant's automobile was not suitable to drive 100 miles round trip each day to work does not mean that the claimant was not meeting the requirements of Section 8-903. The claimant had access to three automobiles that she could use to get back and forth to work. Section 8-903 does not prescribe a mileage amount that a claimant must be able to drive in order to meet the requirements of the law. Sefcik v. Jowett, Inc., 2059-BR-93.

NewThe claimant has been making numerous job contacts during each week. However, during the claims process, the claimant advised the Agency that she has a two-hour walk to the nearest bus stop and therefore, since February 2012, when she ran out of money, she could not get to job interviews or to a job. Also, she has no way of receiving incoming telephone calls from prospective employers because she does not have an operational telephone. The claimant produced a letter from the DC Department of Employment Services which stated that the claimant received transportation assistance from the department beginning March 2012 and that the claimant was accessible by phone throughout the work search process. The Board found that, based upon a preponderance of the credible evidence, the claimant met her burden of demonstrating that she was able, available and actively seeking work beginning the week of February 26, 2012. Davis, 3415-BR-12.

NewThe claimant filed an initial claim for unemployment benefits establishing a benefit year effective June 22, 2014. As of June 23, 2014, the claimant’s vehicle was repaired and she no longer had transportation issues. The claimant has been making at least two job contacts per week in her search for work in the same area of her previous employment. The Board held that the claimant is able, available and actively seeking work within the meaning of Section 8-903. Benefits are allowed from the week beginning June 22, 2014. Howell, 1120-BR-15.

g. Effect of Relocation of Claimant
No disqualification can be imposed on a claimant who moves to a different locale while unemployed, even if there are fewer job opportunities in the new area. However, after such a move, a claimant must adjust the job search to suit the new area since the law specifically requires that the extent of the work search be considered in relation to the labor market conditions in the claimant's area. Bunjon v. Church Hospital, 71-BH-82

D. Attendance at School
NewSection 8-903 sets forth three eligibility requirements: 1) a clamant must be physically, mentally and emotionally able to work; 2) a claimant must not have a material restriction on their availability for full-time work in the occupation for which they have training, education or experience, and 3) a claimant must make an active work search demonstrating an attachment to the labor market, designed to return the claimant to gainful employment. When deciding the availability to work of a claimant that is also a student, several factors in addition to what hours the claimant is available to work must be considered. These factors include: 1) the claimant’s training, education and experience; 2) when work is available in the occupations in which the claimant has training, education and experience, and 3) whether the claimant is willing to accept work during other hours. The mere fact that the claimant attends school, even where some classes occur during daytime hours, should not automatically preclude the claimant from establishing eligibility for unemployment benefits. There is no requirement that a claimant be available to work all the hours of the day, or the week. Harrison, 5031-BR-12.

1. Limited Course of Study
A disqualification under Section 8-903 is inappropriate where the claimant is available for work during the normal work week and is unavailable for weekend work only because he is attending a training program to upgrade his job skills. Williams, 901-BR-83.

The claimant was able, available and actively seeking work under Section 8-903 since his attendance two hours per week in an educational program did not interfere with his ability to work or with his work search. Clasing, 95-BH-90.

A claimant attending school three days per week to learn the English language should not be disqualified for restricting his ability or availability to accept full-time employment. The claimant did not treat his schooling as a restriction regarding ability, availability and active search for work. This is supported by the fact that the claimant's work search resulted in full-time employment. Kuzman, 616-BR-99 (1999).

NewA full-time student who is seeking and has obtained full-time employment, may meet the requirements of being able and available for work, even when he has a full-time school schedule. Canneti, 977-BH-02.

NewThe law requires a claimant to be able, available and actively seeking full-time employment without substantial restrictions. The claimant was making her required work searches. The fact that the claimant was spending a total of eight hours a week for two months attending training which would lead to guaranteed employment should not be a bar to receipt of unemployment benefits. The claimant was attempting to maximize her employment potential. Benjamin, 10-BR-03.

NewThe claimant’s work placements as an apprentice were arranged through a union business agent. That placement provided for the claimant’s attendance at mandatory training on Mondays for a period of weeks. This training was not a limitation on her ability, availability or seeking work. Nester, 957-SE-03.

New Attending one class, one evening a week, for a total of three hours, not a substantial restriction on a claimant’s ability to work. Zakowsky v. Coca Cola Enterprises, Inc., 1126-BR-03.

NewA claimant with dermatitis is not rendered unable to work, nor is she substantially restricting her availability to work by attending school two days a week to obtain a GED. A high school diploma is highly desirable in today’s job market and the lack thereof is a substantial bar to most employment opportunities. Wright, 1135-BR-03.

NewThe Board found insufficient evidence that the claimant’s class, held one evening per week from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, constitutes a material restriction on the claimant’s availability or ability to accept suitable employment offers or apply for suitable work. Miller, 2296-BR-11.

NewThe claimant was enrolled in college classes from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The claimant was seeking employment in the security or animal caretaking fields. The claimant maintained a full-time job while attending part-time college classes. The claimant met his burden of demonstrating that he was able, available and actively seeking work. Nnadi, 3309-BR-11.

NewThe claimant was seeking work in a variety of occupations, including retail and general labor. The claimant took evening classes Monday through Thursday, from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM. The claimant was unwilling to drop her classes to accommodate an employment offer. The Board does not believe that a claimant must be willing to accept work at any and all hours of the day to establish her availability. It is not unreasonable for a claimant to have some restriction upon the hours she is willing to work. Here, the claimant’s restriction was minimal, particularly in light of the types of work she was seeking. The claimant was seeking employment for which there are historically multiple work shifts. The claimant was not seeking work in occupations for which the primary duties were performed during hours she was not available because of her class schedule. The Board does not find that the claimant’s exclusion of evening hours, four days per week, was a material restriction on her availability. The Board held that the claimant was able, available and actively seeking work. Hemphill, 711-BR-12.

NewThe claimant attends classes on Mondays from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM and on Wednesdays from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM. The claimant is only in class and unavailable for work about 6.5 hours each week. The claimant is seeking work in fields which have varying schedules and for which he has training, education and experience. The Board does not find that the claimant’s minimal school schedule conflicts, particularly in light of his willingness to change or drop classes, sufficient to render the claimant unavailable for work. Polhemus, 1138-BR-12.

NewSince February 27, 2012, the claimant was a student at the James Rumsey Technical Institute, a truck driver school. His classes were held on Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 2:30 pm. The claimant was seeking work in the truck driving field. If the claimant were offered work that conflicted with his school schedule, he would not be able to accept it. The claimant could not change his class schedule and could not drop his classes. The claimant completed his course of study on May 25, 2012. He immediately began searching for work, without limitation and became fully available at that time. The Board held that the claimant was denied benefits from February 26, 2012 until May 26, 2012. Ericson, 3824-BR-12. (Benefits denied).

NewThe claimant attended classes on Monday and Wednesday, from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM and on Thursday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The claimant could not quit school because of the substantial time and financial commitment she had made. The claimant was making two or more job contacts per week for LPN positions with hospitals, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities. Nursing shifts are available at all hours of all days of the week. The claimant had a history of full-time employment in this field, while attending school. No claimant is required to be available for work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The claimant is expected to be available for work during most of the hours in which her usual occupation is performed. The claimant was available for work for a majority of the hours of all of the days of the week. There were only a few hours which would pose a conflict. The Board is satisfied that the claimant met the requirements of Section 8-903. Didley, 4844-BR-12.

NewThe claimant was a full-time student attending classes from 9:00 AM until 1:20 PM on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and another class that involved a team project which required scheduling meetings with other students. The claimant is seeking work in the fields of accounting and computer applications. The Board does not agree that the claimant’s school attendance interfered with or occupied sufficient time to preclude her being available for appropriate full-time work. The fields of accounting and computer networking systems have positions which offer evening, night and weekend hours. To the extent that the claimant was willing to accept work during these other hours, she should be found available. The mere fact that the claimant attends school, even where some classes occur during daytime hours, should not automatically preclude her from establishing eligibility for unemployment benefits. Harrison, 5031-BR-12.

NewThe claimant attended classes from 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM on Monday and Wednesdays. While she certainly spends additional time studying and preparing for classes, those activities can be conducted at any time. The claimant has demonstrated availability for work in the vast majority of the work week. The claimant taking classes during the day does not exclude full-time work during any other hours. The claimant may need to broaden her work search to include more work in different shifts, but she has been actively seeking employment in which there would be flexibility in scheduling. A worker does not have to be available to accept all work at all hours of every day to be considered available for work. The Board finds the claimant was able to work, available for work and actively seeking work at all times material to this matter. Muir, 5853-BR-12.

NewThe claimant was assisting in the care of an elderly relative, but was not occupied with this to the extent it precluded him from working. The class that the claimant attends only takes 4 hours from the week. He attends classes Friday and Saturday from 8:00 AM until 10:00 AM. Neither of these factors is a bar to the claimant’s availability for full-time work. The Board concludes that the claimant was available for work as contemplated in the statute. Walker, 1744-BR-13.

NewThe claimant attended college on Tuesday and Thursday from 5:45 PM to 8:00 PM. She is also taking a web course that she can attend any time. The claimant is seeking work as a medical assistant for which the customary hours of employment are 24 hours a day. The claimant is willing to drop classes if necessary. She has not been applying to every available shift. She has only applied for shifts that start at 8:30 AM and go until 5:30 PM. There is no requirement that the claimant be available to work all of the 24 hours of every day or all of the seven days of the week. The evidence demonstrated that the claimant was available for work most of the day during most of the week. The claimant was seeking work which traditionally is offered during the hours of her availability. The Board is of the opinion that the claimant was available for work as required under section 8-903. Dixon, 0-BR-00.

NewThe claimant was unavailable for work four hours of the day, Monday through Friday. The claimant was available for work evenings, weekends and the other hours she was not either attending classes or in her internship. The type of work performed by the claimant is routinely done at all hours, or during all shifts and days of the week. The claimant may have made her schooling a priority, but she did not remove herself from the labor market entirely. A claimant has never been required to be available for work 24 hours a day, seven days each week. A claimant may exclude certain shifts or days from her accessible work schedule for a variety of reasons. The question which must be answered in this sort of inquiry is whether the claimant has so restricted or limited her availability as to effectively remove herself from the work force. The Board finds that this claimant was available to perform work for which she had training, education and experience, for about 20 of the possible 24 hours each day. Benefits are allowed. Jennings v. Chapelwood Enterprises LLC, 5279-BR-13.

2. Flexible Schedule
A claimant who, although attending school, continues to look for full-time work and would adjust her school schedule or give up school upon receiving permanent full-time work is able, available and actively seeking work. Drew-Winfield v. Patuxent Medical Group, 87-BH-87.

There is no reason to disqualify a claimant under the availability provisions when his part-time classes have been arranged to be flexible enough to change to accommodate any work schedule. Mallett, 1132-BR-92.

NewThe claimant attended class online. The classes were held at various times convenient to the students. Only rarely did the claimant need to be physically present at school. The Board held that these classes alone do not make the claimant ineligible for benefits. Deputy, 678-BR-11. (Online class).

NewThe claimant was taking an online course. The claimant was free to work on the course at any time and at her own pace. The claimant’s children are in daycare. The claimant had no impediments to working should she find work. The Board held that the online class is not a bar to the claimant’s ability to work, her availability to work or her efforts to seek work. Benefits were allowed. Lewis, 462-BR-11. (Online class).

NewThe claimant is attending school, but with a flexible school schedule that can be adjusted to accommodate work hours. Although the claimant is limited to lifting 25 pounds, the jobs that he is pursuing do not require lifting, for example, receptionist, bookkeeper or security. The claimant is actively seeking work. There are two exceptions. The claimant did not look for work the week of November 28, 2010 through December 4, 2010 because he was moving and the claimant did not look for work from December 19, 2010 through January 1, 2011 because he was recovering from eye surgery. The Board held that the claimant was able, available and actively seeking work with the exception of the above-mentioned weeks. Urey, 1040-BR-12. (Flexible schedule).

NewThe claimant attends school on Tuesdays, from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM. On Thursdays, she attends school from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. The claimant is a certified emergency medical technician (EMT). She is seeking work in that field. It is customary for EMT’s to work overnight shifts, rotating shifts and morning shifts. The claimant is willing to try to change her class schedule or to drop classes which would conflict with employment should she be offered a full-time position. The Board noted that the claimant is only in school for a small minority of the work week, particularly where she is seeking employment which occurs during all hours of all days of the week. There’s no requirement that a claimant be available to work all of the hours of the day, or the week. The Agency expects and requires the claimant to be available to work a normal work week for the occupation which she has training, experience and education and in which she is seeking employment. Jacobs, 3395-BR-12. (Claimant willing to change or drop class).

NewThe claimant was taking online classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings. She was not willing to drop out of school. She is seeking work as a medical receptionist or companion. She has the flexibility to work full-time, particularly as she is seeking work which occurs all hours of the day and night. The claimant was able to change her class schedule. The claimant was never asked to provide documentation that she could change her class schedule. Absent a request for this, the fact that she did not offer any documentation should not be used against her. Unless there’s some reason to doubt the veracity of the claimant’s testimony, an affirmative statement to that effect should be sufficient upon which to base a finding of fact. The claimant’s testimony further demonstrated that she is able to work, engaged in an appropriate and active work search and is available for full-time work during most hours of most days. That satisfies the Agency’s requirements. Daye, 3398-BR-12. (No documentation required to prove ability to change schedule).

NewThe claimant attended classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 AM to 9:15 AM, Tuesdays from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 PM to 1:45 PM and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 PM to 5:15 PM. The claimant is seeking work as a cashier or medical assistant. The claimant was engaged in an active work search. The claimant was seeking employment in a variety of occupations and was willing to accept any offered work for which she was qualified. Most importantly, the claimant was available for work despite her schooling. She had worked full time in the past, while attending school. She was willing to drop classes or adjust her school schedule in favor of employment. She was seeking work in fields where work is available every day of the week and at varying hours. Some of the jobs for which the claimant applied were conducted on weekends, evenings and even nights, all seven days of the week. It is entirely possible that the claimant could have secured full-time employment in one of these positions without having to make any changes to her school schedule. The Board held that the claimant established compliance with the criteria enumerated in Section 8-903. Ballard, 4369-BR-12.

NewThe claimant is looking for work as a certified nursing assistant where she has prior experience. The normal hours in this field or 24 hours per day, seven days per week, three shifts per day. The claimant attends school from Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM. After classes are completed the claimant has an unpaid internship of 370 hours. The claimant has flexibility in her class schedule. If a conflict developed between work hours and class hours, the claimant can take her classes at night or on the weekends. The Board held that the claimant is able, available and actively seeking work. The claimant’s school attendance has the flexibility to accommodate job requirements. Owens, 5675-BR-12.

NewThe claimant filed a claim for unemployment benefits establishing a benefit year effective November 25, 2012. The claimant was attending school four days a week from 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM. The claimant always had the availability of a flexible school schedule. If an employer needed the claimant to work until 6:00 PM, the school agreed to let her make up the hours at another time. In order to accommodate an employer with an evening shift, the school would allow the claimant to take her classes during the day. The claimant has made an active search for work. The claimant did not have a school schedule that would have prevented her from accepting otherwise suitable work. The claimant was seeking work as a medical or dental receptionist, a caregiver and a medical assistant. The Board held that benefits were allowed from the week beginning November 25, 2012. Romualdo, 1270-BR-13.

NewThe claimant established a benefit year effective September 1, 2013. During the week beginning May 11, 2014, the claimant began taking classes Monday through Thursday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. He is seeking to become certified for a commercial driver’s license and his course of study will be completed July 24, 2014. The claimant is seeking full-time work, primarily in his previous occupation of shipping and receiving in a warehouse, for which the customary hours of employment are 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After receiving the Notice of Benefit Determination dated May 28, 2014, which denied him benefits, the claimant went to the school and explored the scheduling options. He was informed that he could take classes on weekends as well as during the week. He was willing to exercise that option if he were offered full-time employment which conflicted with his current school schedule. He was seeking work in fields which offered jobs during all hours. There’s no requirement that the claimant be available to accept work during all days and all shifts. The claimant’s exclusion of daytime hours was not an undue restriction on his availability to accept full-time work, particularly where he was seeking work commonly performed during evening and night shifts. The Board found the claimant to be able and available for work beginning May 11, 2014. Harris, 3044-BR-14.

NewThe claimant established a benefit year beginning February 2, 2014. The claimant attends classes from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as from 9:30 am to 12:15 pm on Tuesday and Thursday. The claimant is in his final semester of college and will graduate in May 2014. He previously worked in food service and was able to work his job schedule around his class schedule. The claimant is optimistic that he could obtain some accommodation from his instructors if he obtained full-time work that conflicted with his class schedule. The claimant is unwilling to drop his classes and cannot change all of them. The Board found that the claimant was not meeting the requirements of the law due to the fact that he was attending college. However, the claimant completed his college requirements in May 2014. Therefore, this is no longer a bar to his receipt of unemployment benefits. The claimant was disqualified from the week beginning February 2, 2014 through the week ending May 17, 2014. Benefits were allowed the week beginning May 18, 2014. Franklin, 2151-BR-14.

NewThe claimant was enrolled in college since the week beginning January 26, 2014. His classes are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and Tuesday and Thursday, from 2:20 pm to 7:30 am. The claimant is seeking work in the office, retail and landscaping fields. If the claimant were offered work that conflicted with his school schedule, he would not be able to accept it. The claimant cannot change his class schedule and cannot drop his classes. The claimant’s classes for the spring semester ended on May 9, 2014. The Board found that the claimant was able, available and actively seeking work from the week beginning May 11, 2014. Benefits were denied from the week beginning January 26, 2014 through May 10, 2014. Mitchell, 1462-BR-14. (Benefits denied).

IV. Active Search for Work

A. Reasonable Search

1. In General
Where a claimant makes an honest and active search for work, no disqualification is imposed under Section 8-903. Nachand, 181-BH-84.

A claimant should obviously look for work in those fields in which he is most likely to obtain employment. Therefore, a claimant's search for work in the auto repair industry, in which he has past experience, was not a disqualifying limitation on his work search. Goldman v. Allen's Auto Supply, 1123-BR-82.

An additional search for work as a dispatcher, over and above a search for regular clerical work in the customary hours that clerical work is performed, does not disqualify a claimant under Section 8-903 even though the additional work is not sought at all hours the additional work is customarily performed. McDermott v. Macke Company, 1420-BH-82.

See also, Section I.E. Temporary Agencies, this chapter.

2. Number of Job Contacts Required
Section 8-903 does not require a specific number of job contacts each week. The Agency requires a claimant to make three job contacts each week. The standard contained in the statute is whether the efforts an individual has made to obtain work have been reasonable and are such efforts as an unemployed individual is expected to make if he is honestly looking for work.

No disqualification is imposed on the claimant sprinkler fitter, who specializes in the fire protection industry and is a member of a trade union, where his job search consists of sending resumes and making telephone calls to employers who might need his services. The claimant's job search covered a wide and diverse geographical area. Smith, 684-BR-83.

During a particular week, the claimant made one job contact that resulted in a job offer. The claimant began negotiating with the prospective employer, and the claimant began full-time employment the following week. The claimant's pursuit of this job was a reasonable course of action more likely to bear fruit than making another job contact, and the claimant was actively seeking work under Section 8-903. Liller, 293-BR-91.

NewThe claimant received and accepted a bona fide offer of full-time employment, with a definite start date. The claimant was therefore exempt from actively looking for work from the time the claimant received and accepted the bona fide offer of full-time employment until that employment began. To hold otherwise would induce claimants to deceive employers by making it seem they are interested in filling a job opening, and perhaps causing an employer to overlook a real candidate who could fill that opening, and actually needs a job. This case is distinguished from Liller, 293-BR-91 in which the claimant was still negotiating the terms of the job offer during the intervening week, while the claimant at bar had already accomplished that task and was simply waiting the intervening two weeks before reporting for duty. Markiewicz, 761-BR-18.

NewThe claimant attended school for three hours, one evening per week for a six-week period. The Board found that this had no impact on her availability for work. The Board also held that the claimant was not required to seek other work during a two-week period when she was suspended from her job. Requiring the claimant to seek other work would put her in the position of quitting a full-time job to accept another job when she had no intent or desire to leave. If the claimant’s suspension had been for longer than two weeks, the Board’s analysis would have been different. The Board also noted that the reason for the suspension may disqualify the claimant from receipt of benefits under Sections 8-1001, 8-1002 or 8-1003. Burton, 308-BR-11. (Claimant on suspension, returning to same employment, no job search required).

NewThe claimant made two job contacts during the weeks ending March 3, 2012 and March 17, 2012. The claimant made no job contacts during the week ending January 28, 2012. The claimant made one job contact during each of the other weeks in question here. The claimant satisfied the job search requirement for two of the weeks in question. The claimant should be eligible for benefits for those weeks. The claimant did not perform an adequate work search during the other seven weeks at issue here. She is not eligible for benefits those weeks. The claimant is disqualified from receiving benefits from the week beginning January 22, 2012 through the week ending February 25, 2012, the week beginning March 4, 2012 and the week beginning March 18, 2012. Benefits are allowed for each of the weeks beginning February 26, 2012 and March 11, 2012. Taylor, 3399-BR-12.

NewThe claimant is currently enrolled as a student. Her program consists primarily of on-line classes and she is not typically required to log in for classes at any specific time. If a professor holds a webinar, the professor will ask students which days they have conflicts before scheduling it. The claimant’s program has a residency component which requires that the claimant live on a college campus for three weeks. If the claimant were to obtain employment which conflicted with the residency program, she would be willing and able to delay her residency and continue it the next year. The customary hours of employment for the majority of the positions the claimant seeks are 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The claimant is available to work any shift and she applies for all shifts. The claimant has been actively seeking work. The claimant included 29 pages documenting her efforts to obtain employment. The Board held that the claimant is able and available for work and actively seeking work. Mbarga, 6115-BR-12. (Flexible school schedule).

NewDuring the week ending November 17, 2012, the claimant made three job contacts. On November 17, 2012, one of the job contacts she made offered the claimant a position as a sales manager to start November 26, 2012, contingent on her references checking out. During the week ending November 24, 2012, the claimant made one job contact and searched the local papers and appropriate job sites. There were no suitable jobs posted. This was Thanksgiving week and many businesses were closed that Thursday and Friday. The standard used to determine if an individual is actively seeking work is whether the efforts the individual made to obtain work have been reasonable and are such efforts as an unemployed individual is expected to make if she is honestly looking for work. The Board held that the claimant met her burden of demonstrating that she was able, available and actively seeking work during the week ending November 24, 2012. Forsythe, 1015-BR-13. (Job search requirements after offer of employment).

NewThe evidence established that the claimant conducted a satisfactory work search for all but one week of the period in question. However, the hearing examiner held the claimant ineligible for that week, and into the future. The Board finds that the claimant should have been ineligible for benefits for only one week, the week beginning March 17, 2013, during which he made no job contacts. The claimant satisfied his burden for all other weeks material to this decision. Benefits are denied from the week beginning March 17, 2013 through March 23, 2013. Benefits are allowed from the week beginning March 24, 2014. Romain, 4626-BR-13. (Disqualification should be specific).

NewThe claimant made only one job contact during the week of October 7, 2012. That job contact resulted in an offer of employment prior to the end of that week. Clearly, the claimant was engaged in an active work search and that work search resulted in the claimant being hired. The new position was set to begin on November 5, 2012. The claimant had secured full-time employment; the claimant was not required to continue to look for other employment in this interim. This is analogous to a claimant who was under a temporary furlough or layoff, who has a date certain to return to work, and that date is not too far removed in time. The Board does not find the four-week delay between the day the claimant was hired and the day he was to begin working to be long enough that the claimant should have continued to seek other work. The Board held that benefits are allowed from the week beginning October 7, 2012. Cooke, 1855-BR-13. (Job search requirement after offer of employment).

NewThe fact that the claimant has primarily been seeking work with her most recent employer is not indicative of an unsatisfactory work search. The claimant would prefer to stay with this employer so she would not lose the benefits of her prior years of service. There is not a mandatory minimum number of job contacts the claimant must make in the law. Generally, the Agency considers two (now three) per week to be sufficient. However, if there are not two suitable positions to which a claimant may apply in any given week, the claimant should not be penalized for not making two job contacts in that week. A claimant is not required to put form over substance and apply for a position for which she is neither qualified nor willing to accept simply to have applied for a certain number of jobs. The Board held the claimant is able, available and actively seeking work and allowed benefits from November 24, 2013. Kerrick v. Montgomery County Government, 1187-BR-14.

NewThe claimant established a claim for benefits effective June 29, 2014. The claimant’s documentary evidence established she was making adequate job contacts each week since she separated from employment, with the exception of the weeks beginning July 20 and 27, 2014. The claimant was not seeking work during those weeks because she had been offered full-time employment, starting August 1, 2014, which she had accepted. The claimant had no need to continue to seek work once she accepted a new position. Unfortunately, when the claimant reported for this new job on August 1, 2014, she was informed that the criteria for employment had been changed and her offer was rescinded. The claimant should not be penalized for not seeking work during this two-week period. The claimant met her burden of demonstrating that she was actively seeking work from the week beginning June 29, 2014. Malay, 14-BR-15. (Job search requirement after offer of employment, offer later withdrawn).

3. Transportation
The claimant did not have a car and was therefore limiting her work search to places accessible by public transportation. A claimant should not be disqualified based solely on her lack of private transportation. Jones, 1197-BR-88.

A claimant cannot be penalized under Section 8-903 for the simple lack of an operating automobile when he is making efforts to find work in his town and was, in fact, available for work. Tzortzis, 382-BR-89.

4. Geographic Limitations
A claimant who made the required job contacts each week, but limited herself to her home area, was not unreasonably restricting her willingness to work where the type of job she sought was plentiful in the home area and the claimant had previously always found jobs there. However, if at some future point, the claimant runs out of employers in her home area, her restriction may become unreasonable. Stalfort, 509-BR-90.

In cases where the geographic area in which a claimant can search for work is limited by the fact that he does not own an automobile or have a driver's license, a claimant is not disqualified from benefits, provided he is making a reasonable and active search for work under the circumstances. Similar reasoning should be applied where the geographic limitations are the result of a documented medical condition that does not otherwise prevent the claimant from working full-time. Logan, 699-BR-93.

NewThe claimant filed a claim for unemployment benefits establishing a benefit year beginning November 20, 2012. This is a case of first impression for the Board. The claimant’s search for work consisted of a total of two job contacts. The claimant in this case is a victim of geographic and economic circumstances. She lives on Smith Island. The Smith Island economy consists of three small businesses and private individual waterman fishing enterprises. These businesses regularly cease operations during the winter season from late October to early May. Smith Island’s labor market consists of the small island’s inhabitants. Economic market conditions dissipate in late October and do not return until early May. Reasonable access to other job markets is truncated because of the unavailability of regular transportation to and from the island. The Board has no doubt that the claimant is an able, hard worker who would accept any reasonable employment offer. The Board is persuaded that the claimant has made every reasonable effort that would be expected of a similarly situated individual who is honestly looking for work given the market conditions in the area in which she is seeking work. Therefore, the Board finds in this particular case, and on these unique facts, that the claimant has satisfied her obligation of demonstrating that she is able, available and actively seeking work within the meaning of Section 8-903. Bruce, 1156-BR-13.

5. Job Search Via the Internet – Claimant’s Location May Not Be Relevant
NewThe claimant established a benefit year effective February 3, 2013. The claimant filed for and received all his regular unemployment insurance benefits. He then filed for and began receiving extended benefits. The claims specialist denied benefits from July 14, 2013 through September 21, 2013. The claimant has family in Nebraska. The claimant’s brother became ill in early July 2013. The claimant’s family sent him funds to travel to Nebraska. The claimant and other family members were sharing the responsibility of caring for the claimant’s ill brother. The claimant’s brother passed away on July 15, 2013 and the claimant returned to Maryland September 16, 2013. While in Nebraska, the claimant remained available for work. The claimant has worked as a coach bus driver. He has a CDL, Class D license. While in Nebraska, the claimant continued to look for work both in Maryland and Nebraska. The claimant would have returned to Maryland if he had been offered employment. The unemployment law does not require an individual to devote all of their time and energies to looking for work. The claimant demonstrated an active and reasonable search to obtain work. Given the technology available today, an active search for work can be conducted from just about anywhere and at any time. One need only have access to the Internet. Benefits were allowed from the week beginning July 14, 2000 13. Ross, 2508-BH-14. (Internet work search)

6. Prevailing Labor Market Conditions
Section 8-903 provides that in order to be eligible for the receipt of unemployment insurance benefits a claimant must be able to work, available for work and actively seeking work for each week in which the claimant files a claim for benefits. In determining whether or not a claimant is making as active search for work, the labor market conditions must be taken into consideration.

NewThe claimant filed a claim for unemployment benefits establishing a benefit year beginning November 20, 2012. This is a case of first impression for the Board. The claimant’s search for work consisted of a total of two job contacts. The claimant in this case is a victim of geographic and economic circumstances. She lives on Smith Island. The Smith Island economy consists of three small businesses and private individual waterman fishing enterprises. These businesses regularly cease operations during the winter season from late October to early May. Smith Island’s labor market consists of the small island’s inhabitants. Economic market conditions dissipate in late October and do not return until early May. Reasonable access to other job markets is truncated because of the unavailability of regular transportation to and from the island. The Board has no doubt that the claimant is an able, hard worker who would accept any reasonable employment offer. The Board is persuaded that the claimant has made every reasonable effort that would be expected of a similarly situated individual who is honestly looking for work given the market conditions in the area in which she is seeking work. Therefore, the Board finds in this particular case, and on these unique facts, that the claimant has satisfied her obligation of demonstrating that she is able, available and actively seeking work within the meaning of Section 8-903. Bruce, 1156-BR-13.

B. Contractual Agreement Not to Seek Work
An employer offering seasonal work cannot bind its employees to their jobs. Therefore, an employer's conditioning of continued employment on a school crossing guard's promise not to look for permanent work during the period of layoff is unreasonable and does not bind the Board in a Section 8-903 determination. Kirkner v. Baltimore County Police Department, 1104-BR-81.