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Am I entitled to unemployment benefits if I resign? – The Oakland Press

Q: The place where I work just told me that my hours are going to be reduced because we don’t have a lot of work right now. I would like to quit, but if I do, can I get unemployment?

A: The general rule is that if you resign, you will not receive unemployment. Section 29 of Michigan’s Job Security Act states that a worker is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if he “voluntarily quits his job without cause attributable to the employer.” As one might expect, what constitutes “good cause attributable to the employer” is subject to interpretation.

To justify a decision to resign, you must indeed be “constructively fired”, that is, your working conditions have become so intolerable that “a reasonable person… would feel compelled to resign”. The Federal Court for the Sixth Circuit, which includes Michigan, has ruled that a significant reduction in hours may be evidence of constructive discharge, where hours “have been substantially reduced such that the employment no longer provides a living sufficient”.

You do not indicate in your email how much your hours have been reduced, or whether the reduction is permanent or temporary. If you are still able to earn a living and pay your bills, despite the reduction in hours, the Unemployment Insurance Agency may not consider your decision to quit to be “for a good cause attributable to the employer”. and you would not be eligible for unemployment. advantages. And it’s up to you to prove that your decision wasn’t actually “voluntary” – the UIA places the burden of proof on the claimant.

Factors that a court will often consider when deciding that there is an implied discharge – which are similar to those used by the Agency – may include the following: 1. demotion; 2. salary reduction; 3. reduction of work responsibilities; 4. reassignment to menial or degrading work; 5. reassignment to work under a [male] supervisor in some cases; 6. Harassment, harassment or humiliation by the employer likely to induce the employee to resign; or 7. offers of early retirement or continued employment under conditions less favorable than the employee’s former status. Saroli v Automation & Modular Components, Inc (CA 6, 2005).

Ultimately, changes that don’t substantially affect your “terms of employment” – what you do, how you do it, and how much you earn – are unlikely to be considered a good reason to leave a job. . You can always look for another job – employers need labor – and quit once you’ve found a new job.

Troy’s attorney, Daniel A. Gwinn, has a practice focused on employment law, civil rights litigation, estates, trusts and estates. Contact him with your legal questions at [email protected] or visit the website at gwinnlegal.com. “Ask the Lawyer” is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.