Inconvenient work schedule no reason to quit and collect

Employees who quit aren’t generally entitled to unemployment compensation. However, there’s an exception for employees who quit “because of a good reason caused by the employer”—if the employees first give employers a chance to correct the problem.

The reason has to be one that “would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remain” on the job.

One reason that’s not good enough: a schedule change. Generally, a change in schedule that is merely inconvenient won’t mean the employee can walk out and expect to start collecting unemployment comp.

Recent case: Theresa Magariner worked at a nursing home in Duluth and had some performance problems, including excessive absenteeism and bypassing the chain of command.

She quit when her schedule was changed from a shift beginning at 7 a.m. to one beginning at 11 a.m. Magariner filed for unemployment, claiming she quit because her employer changed the schedule and that she was being punished for complaining about other employees. She said a new employee should have been given the later shift.

Her claim was denied and she appealed in court. But her case was tossed. The court said a mere inconvenience such as a schedule change wasn’t compelling enough to justify quitting. Plus, she never gave her employer a chance to fix the problem. And the employer had the right to control who works when. (Magariner v. Viewcrest Health Center, No. A08-2265, Minnesota Court of Appeals, 2009)