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Employee quitting for medical reasons? Consider offering accommodation

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Employees who quit their jobs for “necessitous and compelling” reasons may still be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. Quitting because of medical problems sometimes qualifies.

That’s why employers should consider offering accommodations if an employee says he needs to quit for medical reasons.

An accommodation offer may mean there’s no “necessitous and compelling” reason to quit.

Recent case: Kenneth lived in Harrisburg and took the train daily into Philadelphia for his job. Then he took FMLA leave when his mother was dying. After her funeral, he wrote a resignation letter in which he explained he wanted to spend more time with his family and go back to college.

Soon after, he applied for unemployment compensation. He claimed he had no choice but to quit because his knees hurt during the long commute and therefore had a necessitous and compelling reason to resign.

But it turned out he hadn’t told his employer how much knee pain the commute caused, and there was no evidence he had given the employer a chance to make any accommodations. He didn’t get the unemployment benefits. (Adley v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. 2331 C.D. 2014, Commonwealth Court, 2015)

Final note: Save resignation letters. This one didn’t mention a disability or medical problem. Therefore, it became evidence that Kenneth hadn’t given his employer a chance to find a way for him to keep working.

Employees owe their employers the opportunity to make things right before quitting.

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