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Will I be eligible for unemployment?

Roseburg, OR |

I worked for company for 2.5 years. About 1.5 years ago I had to take a personal leave of absence. Just recently I had to take another leave of absence for a family emergency. I was told I could go & I have the email to prove so. I was to return on 5/10/2012. I couldn't board my flight home because I had to be taken to the airport for the second leg of my flight due to issues beyond my control. I was unable to pay the $505 the airline demanded for me to board the flight even though I called and made them aware of the situation. On 5/9 I informed my employer. I was told if I didn't show up 5/10 I was abandoning my position. I informed them there was no way for me to make it to work but I'd return as soon as I could purchase a flight. I got no response and was terminated. I have all emails.

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

You are being very opaque about the circumstances that underlie all of this. For some mysterious reason you could not meet the defined boundaries of your approved absence. You would like an opinion from an attorney here as to whether that fact will matter in a determination of your eligibility for unemployment benefits. But, of course, it is the "mysterious reason" for your AWOL that makes the difference in answering your question. You couldn't get back as agreed because you were on a hot streak at the gambling table? Or ??? It makes a difference as to "why."

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

Asker

Posted

My mysterious reason? It isn't really a mystery. I was unable to get on my flight when I missed the first leg of my flight. We had car issues on the way to the airport and drove to the airport where I had layover. I called to let the airlines know what happened but they wanted to charge me $505 dollars to board a flight I had already paid for. I didn't have it and neither did anyone I know. In order to fly out I had to magically come up with the money and now I have to magically come up with the money to purchase a new ticket. I informed my employer of the issue and let them know I wouldn't be there. How can this be considered abandonment if I let them know?

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

This will feel unfair to you, and it is, of course. But what your employer's position adds up to is the contention that it was your duty and responsibility to be back at the job by the time agreed. Your employer does not feel like the company should be the guarantor or the party with the burden of solving the problem -- requiring employer flexibility and accommodation -- if you are not back when you agreed to be. The issue is one of who bears the ultimate responsibility for making your return on time a certainty. You think it should be your employer's burden to accommodate the unexpected issues you were delayed by. Your employer does not. The employer thinks those unexpected problems are your problem and your responsibility. In the world of employment law, your employer wins this one.

Asker

Posted

I do understand their position. I'm not trying to say they should have held my job. I just want to know if this would be classified as no fault of my own. I honestly could not board that plane with 100 in my bank account and them asking for 505. I couldn't prevent the car issues either

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

There is no reason not to apply for unemployment. And even appeal if you are initially denied. But no one can predict that on these facts, you will be awarded the benefits.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your time

Posted

In Oregon, generally you are eligible for unemployment so long as you did not voluntarily quit or were not terminated for misconduct. Whether you are eligible will depend upon whether the employment division finds that your failure to return to work on the date requested by the employer was misconduct. If you have a legitimate explanation for your inability to return to work, the employment division may find that although you were terminated, it was not for misconduct. The only way to know is to apply and if the employer disputes it, participate in a hearing.

Posted

I echo the answer given by Shelley Russell, with the additional observation that the issue might be cast as whether you quit voluntarily without good cause because your former employer has stated that it would treat your failure to show up for work as abandonment of your position. If that is the basis for denial of benefits at the Administrative Decision stage, one critical consequence at the hearing stage will be that you will carry the burden of proof to show that your supposed "abandonment" was not voluntary. If you are denied benefits due to alleged misconduct connected with work, the employer will have the burden of proving that you violated the standards of behavior an employer has a right to expect and that you did so willfully or through gross negligence. In either event, I would not expect an adverse ruling if the circumstances were truly beyond your control.

Asker

Posted

I do have proof from the airline showing I was required to pay 505 dollars to board the plane. I also have emails (most unanswered) between my manager and I. I made them fully aware of the situation and that I would work to return as soon as I was able. My leave was unexpected and I didn't have a large amount of money for the trip. I never said I quit or would be unable to ever return to work. I had worked there for 2.5 years, only had one counseling for absences (last quarter) because I missed 4 days of work due to a bad flu even though I had a doctor note. I had probation once which was stemmed by me reporting another employee and it got turned around on me saying I wasn't doing my job (which numbers, if they were looked at, would prove untrue) and a counseling for looking at something on the company intranet that was not password protected and should have been (like I hacked into it or something...). Anyways, I was a good employee who volunteered to work extra, showed up and did far more work and a better job than most.

Scott T Cliff

Scott T Cliff

Posted

Based on what you are saying, I do not see a very strong risk of your being denied unemployment benefits. You should contact a qualified employment lawyer if you get an adverse determination.

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