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No unemployment benefits: New duties weren’t grounds for quitting

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Employees who quit generally aren’t entitled to unemployment compensation. Unless something occurred that would compel a reasonable worker quit, employees won’t get benefits.

Recent case: John worked as a poker dealer for about three years until he refused to show up for work following a change to his job description.

The employer had created a new position titled “poker floor team member.” In addition to dealing cards, the dealers were now required to work as floor supervisors for up to one shift per week.

The change was announced in a letter that listed the new duties. Those included rotating dealers between tables, opening and closing games, rendering impartial decisions in the event of disagreements between dealers and players, communicating with shift managers, running chips and cards to the cashier’s desk or front desk, sorting and verifying decks of cards and cleaning the card room. The letter said employees who failed to perform floor-supervisor duties would be fired.

When first scheduled under the new job description, John showed up for his regular dealer shift but not for his floor-supervisor shift.

Then he quit and applied for unemployment compensation benefits.

His request was denied because the changes to his job had not been significant, nor did he lose pay or other benefits. The new assignment wasn’t enough to justify quitting. (Corrigan v. North Metro Harness Initiative, et al., No. A15-0155, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2015)

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