Voluntary Quit -
Section 8-1001 continued
V. Good Cause or Valid Circumstances
When a claimant quits a job for a work-related reason, it
may be determined that the quit was for good cause or was
due to a substantial cause amounting to a valid circumstance.
Whether the quit is considered to be good cause or a substantial
cause is often a matter of the degree of the seriousness
of the condition that led to the quit. For example, a work-related
reason for quitting may be the unilateral modification of
the employment contract or agreement by the employer. A
substantial modification of the employment contract to the
employee's detriment may support a finding of good cause
or valid circumstances, depending on the substantiality of the modification.
In general, an employer's right to make changes in the employment
depends on the agreement made with the employee at the
time of hire, the nature of the changes and the changed
circumstances and whether the changes were the employee's
fault. For example, where a claimant quits due to modifications
brought about by the claimant's own misconduct at work,
the quit is without good cause or valid circumstances.
However, the employer's failure to pay the agreed upon
salary in a timely manner, after the employee has worked
diligently, is a substantial modification of the employment
contract that constitutes good cause for resigning. Similarly,
the employer's failure to pay an expressly promised raise
is good cause for resigning.
Generally, unreasonable wage deductions that are imposed without
the employee's prior consent or knowledge constitute good cause for resigning.
Changes in the employee's hours or schedule can constitute good cause,
valid circumstances or neither, depending on the circumstances.
For example, where the employee's hours are reduced solely
because he has stolen merchandise from the employer and
can no longer be trusted on the premises alone, the employee's
resignation is for neither good cause nor valid circumstances.
But, where the employee's hours are substantially reduced
due to no fault of the employee, the employee has good cause to resign.
Sometimes employees quit due to various conditions of the employment.
A general dissatisfaction with the work does not amount
to a good cause or valid circumstance for quitting where
the employee was aware of the conditions at the time of
hire. Generally, when an employee quits due to the conditions
of the job, he must show that he complained to the employer
or informed the employer of the conditions prior to resigning
in order to support a finding of good cause.
Quitting a job because the employer is discriminating against an
employee or subjecting him to harassment is generally
for good cause. However, where an employee is harassed
by a coworker, but fails to inform the employer of this
prior to quitting, good cause will probably not be found,
but valid circumstances likely will be.
A voluntary quit due to the employer's disciplinary methods constitutes
neither good cause nor valid circumstances if the discipline is reasonable.
Where the employment causes the employee to commit illegal or unethical
acts, the employee's resignation is for good cause.
Leaving employment due to purely personal reasons generally cannot be considered
to be good cause, but may constitute valid circumstances,
depending on the facts of each case.
A. Actions of the Employer
Modifications of the Employment Contract or Agreement
a. Detrimental Changes
(1) In General
A substantial change in working conditions to the detriment
of an employee can constitute good cause for voluntary leaving
under Section 8-1001. In this case, the claimant's demotion
from her guaranteed position as manager to that of waitress
was clearly a substantial change in employment which was
detrimental to her, and a finding of good cause is supported.
Rockstroh v. Brocato's Restaurant, 154-BH-86.
The claimant voluntarily quit for good cause because the employer substantially
violated the employment agreement to make the claimant
a permanent employee after six weeks and give the claimant
health benefits at that time. Although the claimant requested
that the employer honor the agreement, the employer declined
to do so. Johnson v. Gladenia, Inc., 702-BR-91.
When the claimant was hired, she was informed that she would not
be paid until she earned commissions. This condition did
not change. The claimant took the job because the possibility
of making quick and regular sales was made to appear easy.
She quit when she learned this was not the case. Since
the claimant could not afford to stake her economic survival
on these sales, she had a compelling personal reason to
quit and no reasonable alternative other than to do so.
The claimant thus quit for valid circumstances. Mallory
v. Gulf Development, 988-BR-91.
Where a change in the working conditions is caused by a claimant's own
detrimental conduct at work, and where the claimant subsequently
quits the employment on account of these changes in the
working conditions, the resignation is without good cause
or valid circumstances. Wysling v. BPS Guard Services, Inc., 1179-BH-92.
Because of staff reductions and reorganization, the claimant was
transferred from the mechanical engineering division to
the design division. The only detriment suffered by the
claimant was the change in his promotional structure.
The change in the claimant's potential promotional structure
was neither good cause nor valid circumstances. Lee
v. Litton Systems, Inc., 1034-BR-89.
(2) Change in Ownership
After a change in ownership, the claimant was not paid
commissions, his health insurance was canceled, and the
new employer implied that the claimant was not wanted.
The claimant made repeated efforts to recover the commissions
due him. Taken together, these factors constitute good
cause for the claimant's resignation. Mayhugh v. Fischer
Educational Systems, Inc., 1000-BR-85.
(1) Pay Rate
Wages Not Paid
The Fair Labor Standards Act and its regulations
provide that an employer must pay overtime compensation
for hours worked in excess of the maximum allowable
regular hours for the industry. 29 C.F.R. Section
778.103. The claimant's resignation is for good
cause where the employer fails to pay such overtime
pay in violation of the statute and regulations.
Dunbar v. St. Charles Fitness Center, 726-SE-83.
The obligations of the employment contract are reciprocal.
While the employee has the obligation to work
diligently and in good faith for the employer,
the employer has an obligation to pay the remuneration
agreed upon in a timely manner. A failure of the
employer to do so is a substantial breach of the
employment obligation and constitutes good cause
to quit. Quina v. Marlo Furniture Company, Inc., 1121-BR-92.
claimant quit without good cause or valid circumstances
where the only time that he received no pay was
for the half hour that he reported early each
day. The employer did not require the claimant
to report to work early. Sullivan v. Bayliner
Marine Corporation, 148-BR-90.
(b) Wages Paid Late
The claimant voluntarily quit for good cause where
her paychecks were repeatedly late and sometimes
were only partial checks. Although the late paychecks
were due to the employer's efforts not to discharge
anyone, despite the employer's financial difficulties,
the claimant was entitled to receive her full
pay on time. Donatelli v. Egli and Gompf, Inc., 2058-BR-93.
If wages are not paid correctly and on time, the
damage to the employee has already been done.
Efforts to correct the situation are laudable
(and legally required) but they have little effect
on the issue of good cause unless an employer
can show that the employee is being totally unreasonable.
The timely and prompt payment of all wages due
is one of the most basic obligations of an employer
to an employee, and an employer's failure to meet
this obligation constitutes good cause for leaving.
Kimmell v. Dennis J. Smith, et al., 2065-BR-92.
(c) Changes in Method or Amount of Payment
The claimant's pay system was changed so that
he could not automatically draw $200.00 per week.
Instead, he could receive the money earned in
the pay period or he could build up his earnings
due to commissions and draw a regular check based
on these credited earnings. However, he needed
a regular and predictable income in order to keep
financially afloat, so he quit. The claimant quit
for valid circumstances since the change in the
method of payment was a substantial cause connected
with the conditions of employment. Butka v.
John Ferguson Company, Inc., 225-BR-89.
A substantial detrimental change in the agreed-upon
conditions of employment amounts to a good cause.
A reduction in pay is a detrimental change. This
is an even more serious concern where one party
has relied upon the higher pay rate and foregone
another business opportunity (a second job) in
order to accept it. This aspect of the case alone
amounts to good cause. Smith v. James Hondroulis, 1687-BR-92.
Once a claimant establishes that he is not being paid
the proper amount, there is no requirement that
he make more than a reasonable effort to obtain
the money due him. In this case, two complaints
to his supervisor, who admitted that the higher
amount was due, were enough. The claimant quit
for good cause. Clark v. Sheila Sue Mattingly, DIP, 688-BR-93.
The claimant resigned because of a disagreement arising
out of a misunderstanding of her salary arrangement.
This was the fault of the employer, who informed
the claimant that she was being hired for a monthly
salary when she was being paid by the hour. The
misunderstanding amounted to a substantial cause
connected with the conditions of employment and
therefore, there were valid circumstances for
leaving. Reynolds v. Spa Lady U.S.A., Inc., 152-BR-89.
(2) Promise of a Raise
The claimant voluntarily quit for good cause where the employer
broke a promise to the claimant made at the time of hire
concerning wages and hours. The employer had promised the
claimant full-time work to start immediately and a substantial
raise after several months. Neither of these promises materialized
and the claimant quit because he could not afford to work
part-time for $9.45 per hour. Ferraer v. Stay, Inc., 300-BR-91.
Where a specific promise of a specific raise at a specific time in the
future is made, this promise must be considered to be
one of the conditions of employment. Failure to fulfill
that promise is a substantial detrimental change in the
conditions of employment. There was no evidence that the
employer's failure to give the promised raise was due
to the claimant's performance. The claimant quit for good
cause. Delucca v. Frontier Systems of America, 1089-BR-93.
(3) Deductions from Wages
The claimant resigned after the employer required repayment
of money the claimant took from the employer. The claimant
quit without good cause or valid circumstances since the
employer's request for restitution was reasonable.
Chambers v. White Coffee Pot, 2044-BH-83.
The claimant voluntarily quit with valid circumstances when she learned
that $85.00 per month would be deducted from her salary
in order to pay for health benefits. This was a substantial
detrimental change in the work conditions originally agreed
upon at the time of hire. The claimant did expect to pay
a token amount, but not this much. The employer did not
deliberately deceive the claimant about this. Rather,
the employer simply omitted mention of the $85.00 payment.
Nabavian v. RMI and Associates, Inc., 607-BR-90.
(4) Indemnification of Employer for Losses or Shortages
The claimant gas station cashier resigned for good cause
where the employer required the claimant to sign an agreement
to indemnify the employer for all cash shortages on the
claimant's shift. No such indemnification had ever before
been required, and the claimant was not allowed to count
the money at the end of her shift. The required agreement
was a substantial and unreasonable change in the claimant's
working conditions. McGuire v. Quince Orchard Shell, 472-BR-85.
(5) Reduction of Benefits
The employer failed to properly report the claimant's
correct income to its insurance carrier and also failed
to make and withhold the appropriate contributions for
insurance, as agreed in the employment contract. As a
result, the claimant suffered real monetary loss during
a period of illness because she received lower disability
payments than she should have received. The claimant made
efforts to rectify the problems. The claimant was entitled
to have the employer live up to its agreement, and the
employer's failure to do so constitutes good cause for
resignation. Yingling v. The Hub, 638-BR-82.
After the claimant worked part-time at her own request, a reduction
in vacation time was not unreasonable, and the claimant
had no good cause or valid circumstances for quitting.
Reed v. Eduardo Armenta, M.D., 340-BR-87.
c. Changes in Hours or Schedule
(1) In General
The claimant resigned for good cause when he was required
to work some Sundays contrary to his religious practices
and beliefs, despite the fact that the employer led the
claimant to believe at the time of hire that Sunday work
would not be required. Spellman v. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, 246-BR-84.
As an alternative to being laid off, the claimant accepted a transfer from
the day shift at a location near her residence, to the
night shift at a distant location which required that
she take two buses home after midnight. After being delayed
by work and missing the last bus home, which left the
claimant stranded in the city overnight, she resigned.
The changes in the claimant's work schedule and location,
which caused the claimant unusually severe transportation
problems, constituted a valid circumstance for her resignation.
Johnson v. Direct Housekeeping, 183-BR-86.
When the employer made substantial changes in the claimant's job
requirements, the claimant, recognizing that she could
not comply with these changes, voluntarily submitted her
resignation. Specifically, prior to her hiring, the claimant
had reached an agreement with the employer about her flex-time
hours. The revocation of these hours was a significant
and detrimental change in the contract of employment on
the part of the employer. The claimant quit for good cause.
DiBartolomeo v. Yaffe and Company of Baltimore, Inc., 1089-BH-89.
The claimant was hired as a bookkeeper to work from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m. The claimant made the employer aware that the 9:00
a.m. starting time was crucial to her daily schedule.
Shortly after the claimant was hired, the employer changed
the starting time to 8:30 a.m. In addition, the employer
required the claimant to perform janitorial duties. The
claimant had good cause to voluntarily quit her job since
two important conditions of employment were changed.
Heavner v. Auto Trader Company, 195-BR-90.
The claimant was hired as an operations manager, working a day shift.
Due to budget constraints, the employer eliminated the
claimant's position. The employer asked the claimant to
accept the position of dispatcher/inspector on the evening
shift. The claimant's pay and the amount of travel would
not change. The claimant was unable to work the evening
shift due to medication that he had to take at 7 p.m.
The medication made him drowsy and he could not drive.
The claimant quit his job because he could not work the
hours required by the employer. This was a substantial
change in the conditions of employment. The claimant quit
for good cause. Phillips v. Loughlin Security Agency, Inc., 2116-BH-92.
(2) Long Hours and Overtime
The claimant, a salaried employee, was told she would
have to work six days instead of five at the same salary.
Salaried employees were to work extra when necessary.
The claimant did not inquire about this but quit immediately.
The situation only lasted one week. There was neither
good cause nor valid circumstances for the claimant's
leaving. Tarr v. McDonald's of Jacksonville, 234-BR-87.
The employer required the claimant to work over 40 hours per week but
did not pay him for it. This was a violation of 29 C.F.R.
Section 778.103 and Sections 3-415 and 3-420 of the Labor
and Employment Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The claimant left for good cause. Bishop v. Ward Component
Systems, Inc., 801-BR-87.
The claimant worked 800 hours of overtime during one year, which was
far in excess of the overtime contemplated at his hiring.
The excessive overtime amounted to valid circumstances.
Beckmann v. Peninsula General Hospital, 1165-BR-88.
The claimant's schedule was much more varied and broken up than she was
lead to believe when she was hired. Consequently, the
time she had to be available for work extended over the
entire day and late into the evening. This made child
care almost impossible to arrange. The claimant made a
good faith effort to work this out, but was unable to
do so. The claimant voluntarily quit for a substantial
cause, connected with the work, which is one of the definitions
of valid circumstances. Smith v. Lourn M. Boyce, Sr., 135-BR-93.
(3) Reduction in Hours
The claimant had good cause for quitting after the employer
changed her from a permanent employee to a part-time tax
season employee and eliminated her health insurance and
benefits package. Both of these actions were detrimental
alterations of the claimant's original contract of hire,
and the employer had no reasonable justification for doing
this. Pawlik v. Brown, 891-BR-90.
The claimant voluntarily quit after the employer reduced his hours
and wanted to put the claimant on a disciplinary program.
These measures were reasonable because the claimant's
performance had deteriorated and failed to improve. The
claimant voluntarily quit without good cause or valid
circumstances. Groves v. Itnyre Enterprises, Inc., 656-BR-91.
The claimant's customary hours of work were substantially reduced, resulting
in a substantial decrease in his income. The claimant
was in the state only for the purposes of employment,
and could not afford to stay with the reduced amount of
hours. Since the claimant was not promised any specific
hours, he does not have good cause for leaving, but this
change does amount to valid circumstances. Taylor
v. Metrex Excavating, 1864-BR-92.
A reduction in hours due solely to the claimant's own conduct in losing
his license is neither a good cause nor a valid circumstance.
Foote v. TLB Associates, Inc., 1485-BH-92.
The fact that it is normal and customary for a seasonal job to
come to an end, and the fact that an employee is aware
of this, does not change the fact that unemployment benefits
are normally payable when the job comes to an end due
to a seasonal lack of work. Where a seasonal job had not
come to an end, but had been reduced to the point where
continuation on the claimant's part was not financially
feasible, valid circumstances were found. Thomas v. Trimpers Rides, 371-BR-92.
The claimant's hours were reduced from 32 hours to 18 hours per week,
due to lack of work. In addition, her weekly schedule
was to be changed as needed, with as little as 24 hours'
notice. The claimant had good cause for quitting her employment.
Not only were her hours of employment substantially cut,
but her weekly work schedule was now subject to change
on 24 hours notice. A claimant can be expected to adjust
her hours to accommodate her employer's schedule, where
the adjustment is reasonable. The employer's policy in
this case was unreasonable. Wiggins v. Barranca-Offutt, Inc., 593-BR-93.
The claimant was promised between 37.5 and 40 hours of work per week,
averaging 39 hours per week. The claimant's unrefuted
testimony was that she had averaged only 32 hours per
week, causing her economic hardship. Where the claimant
is paid far less than the promised amount, she has good
cause for quitting. Buchanan v. Key Federal Savings Bank, 3259-BR-94.
Many employers can offer employees only varying hours of work. This does
not change the fact that a reduction in hours to almost
zero amounts to good cause. The fact that an employee
was told that the hours would vary does not change this
conclusion. Colbert v. Phillips Harborplace, Inc.,
d. Change in Job Location
The claimant had good cause to quit where the employer transferred
the claimant to a distant location, requiring a commute
of approximately six hours round trip each day. Auth
v. General Glass Corporation, 898-BR-85.
The claimant quit because the employer wanted him to transfer from
the Maryland-Virginia area to Jacksonville, Florida. In
addition, the employer would not cover all the claimant's
reasonable expenses that he would incur as a result of
this move. The claimant voluntarily quit with good cause.
Pennington v. Lott Constructors, Inc., 870-BR-89.
e. Promotions and Demotions
An employer's lack of fair and objective standards in
denying the claimant a promotion, despite an informal
understanding between the parties that a promotion would
be based on merit, constitutes a valid circumstance for
the claimant's resignation. A certain amount of unfairness
is part of everyday existence, and every instance of unfair
treatment will not necessarily be found to be good cause
or valid circumstances under Section 8-1001; the degree
of unfairness involved and the particular circumstances
must be considered in each case. El-Jallad v. J. Vinton
Schafer and Sons, Inc., 791-BH-84.
The employer promoted the claimant to a position that both the employer
and the claimant knew the claimant was not able to perform.
The employer was to train the claimant but failed to do
so. When the claimant was not able to perform in the manner
the employer desired, the employer informed her that she
would be demoted with a substantial cut in pay and the
claimant quit. The claimant left for good cause. Haskell
v. Rommell Electric Company, 345-BH-89.
The claimant had been a good employee for five years. Her supervisor,
by his words and deeds, caused her to reasonably assume
that she was to be promoted. Her supervisor did not have
the authority to promise the claimant the promotion. The
claimant's quit was for valid circumstances. Webb
v. Alex Brown and Sons, 815-BR-89.
Where an employer has promised an employee that it will adhere
to a promotional process, the failure to live up to that
promise constitutes a good cause, connected with the conditions
of employment, for leaving the job. An employee has the
corresponding obligation to act according to the conditions
of the employment contract. Neumayer v. Genesco, Inc., 2209-BR-92.
The employer's demotion policy was reasonable when the claimant failed
two exams for certification as a registered nurse. The
claimant should have been aware of the policy at the time
of hiring, and the claimant did have the opportunity to
prepare for the tests. The claimant's leaving was without
good cause or valid circumstances. Joseph v. Community
Hospital and Health, 176-BR-89.
The claimant's hours were reduced due to the claimant's inability to
get to work on time. Subsequently, the claimant quit.
Where a demotion leading to a cut in pay is caused by
the claimant's own detrimental conduct, the cut in pay
does not amount to good cause or valid circumstances for
quitting. Kamara v. Abbott Enterprises, Inc., 736-BR-91.
The claimant was demoted because she was unsuccessful in generating
business. The claimant subsequently quit. A demotion is
not unreasonable where the employee has demonstrated inability
to perform at the higher level and such a demotion is
not good cause to quit. However, since the claimant's
inability to perform was caused in part by a lack of training
by the employer, valid circumstances are present.
Burke v. BSI Temporaries, Inc., 960-BR-91.
The claimant quit after being demoted. The demotion was for an indefinite
duration and involved a substantial decrease in pay and
responsibilities. The demotion was done by the employer
solely for economic reasons. The claimant voluntarily
quit for good cause. Evans v. Good News Salisbury, Inc., 713-BR-91.
Dissatisfaction with a demotion is not good cause or valid circumstances
for quitting a job where the reason for the demotion is
poor work performance. This also applies where the claimant
simply fails in an attempt to be promoted. Stewart
v. UPS, 192-BR-92.
The claimant quit rather than accept a demotion from store manager
at a rate of $375.00 per week plus bonus to floating assistant
store manager at $350.00 per week plus bonus. The claimant
was demoted due to his inability to successfully perform.
Since the demotion was potentially substantial and the
claimant's poor performance was not deliberate, the claimant
quit with valid circumstances. Wrenn v. Kimmel Automotive, Inc., 471-BR-90.
The claimant voluntarily quit with good cause after he was demoted
with a reduction in pay. There was no evidence that the
claimant's own detrimental conduct or inability caused
the demotion. Owens v. Hill's Capitol Security, Inc., 1278-BR-91.
f. Change in Job Duties Only
The claimant has the burden of proof of showing that there
was a change in job duties and that the new duties complained
of should not be subsumed under the original job category.
Nelson v. Annapolis Housing Authority, 965-BR-85.
Since the new position offered the same pay and hours as her former
position, the claimant's refusal of a transfer to the
new position constitutes a voluntary quit without good
cause. However, since the claimant's responsibilities
would have been reduced in the new position, and she would
have continued to work occasional uncompensated overtime,
valid circumstances were supported. Lomax v. Sinai
Hospital of Baltimore, 946-BR-85.
The claimant voluntarily quit after her job duties were changed, but
her hours and salary were not. As a result of the change,
the claimant lost supervisory duties and had to do more
routine tasks. She did not complain about this before
quitting. The claimant quit without good cause, but with
valid circumstances. Brill v. Anderson Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc., 1453-BR-91.
The claimant remained willing and able to perform the type of services
for which she was hired, but these duties were no longer
available to her. The claimant's duties had changed to
duties which the claimant was not medically able to perform.
This is a substantial detrimental change in the conditions
of employment, and it amounts to good cause for leaving
the employment. The claimant does not need to assume those
new duties against medical advice in order to prove that
she has good cause. Brown v. James Jenkins, Jr., 1890-BR-92.
The claimant, after performing satisfactorily for a long period of time
the duties for which she was hired, was required to perform
sales duties, which were different duties than those for
which she was hired. She was unsuited for sales and refused,
though she offered to continue to perform the duties for
which she was hired. Her refusal to accept this new position
constitutes a voluntary quit, but for good cause.
Myers v. Terrance M. McLarney, 423-BR-93.
2. Discipline and Disciplinary Methods
a. In General
A voluntary quit done in response to an employer's reprimand
or in anticipation of being discharged is a voluntary quit
without good cause or valid circumstances. In this case,
the claimant was reprimanded but failed to meet his burden
of showing that the reprimand was unreasonable or that the
employer was acting in bad faith. Sutch v. Peter Alden, et al., 644-BR-90.
The claimant's job performance was inadequate, and the employer was going
to supervise the claimant for a period of 90 days in an
attempt to see if she could do the job with additional
help. The employer's actions were not unreasonable, and
the claimant's decision to leave while the employer was
giving her another lengthy trial period was premature
and unreasonable, amounting to neither good cause nor
valid circumstances. Wang v. MDS Distributions Services, 311-BR-92.
The employer's disciplinary action was taken in bad faith. Just as an
employee has a basic duty of loyalty toward her employer,
an employer has a basic duty to treat an employee in good
faith. Where this duty is violated in regard to disciplinary
procedures, good cause is established. Woerner v.
White Marsh Mall, Inc., 2159-BR-92.
b. Rude or Abusive Discipline
The employer's use of degrading and insulting language
directed at the claimant in a loud tone of voice for over
an hour, in circumstances where other employees were able
to hear it, constitutes good cause for resignation.
Sheckles v. Executive Commissary, Ltd., 790-BH-81.
Where the employer used some abusive language to the claimant on
the day she quit, the claimant's resignation was for valid
circumstances under Section 8-1001, but was not for good
cause. Kling v. Shop Mart, 572-BR-84.
Every instance of the employer yelling does not give rise to good cause
or valid circumstances, particularly when the employer
was understandably frustrated by the claimant's blatant
negligence which caused the employer's business to appear
totally incompetent to a customer. The claimant quit without
good cause or valid circumstances. Simmons v. Flue Masters, Inc., 532-BR-92.
c. Forced Apologies
The claimant resigned for good cause where she was forced
by the employer to apologize to a customer for no wrongdoing
on her part and during the apology, the customer yelled
and cursed at the claimant for fifteen minutes, in the
presence of employees and other customers, without intervention
by the employer. Lankford v. Rite Aid Corporation, 2202-BH-83.
The claimant accompanied a coworker who slashed the tires of a car
belonging to a third employee. The employer ordered the
claimant and coworker to apologize to the other employee
and make arrangements to pay for the ruined tires in lieu
of reporting the crime to the police. The claimant did
not do so, walked off the job, and did not return. The
employer's request that the claimant and coworker meet
with the injured employee and make restitution, in lieu
of calling the police, was reasonable, and the claimant's
resignation was without good cause or a valid circumstance.
Hollenbaugh v. Whitcraft Transmission, 1101-BR-85.
3. Discrimination and Harassment
a. Derogatory Racial Remarks
The claimant has good cause to quit where the employer makes
personal and derogatory comments to the claimant, of a racially
offensive nature, about the claimant and his girlfriend.
Manuel v. Osika - Cooper, Inc., 216-BR-83.
b. Sexual Harassment
Where the employer subjected the claimant to a relentless
and unwanted barrage of requests for her sexual favors,
despite her constant refusals, and made it clear that
such requests would continue, the employer's conduct constitutes
sexual harassment of the claimant and created intolerable
working conditions. The claimant's resignation was for
good cause. It is unreasonable to expect a claimant to
make a formal complaint to her supervisor (in this case,
the very individual making said advances) where such complaint
would result in personal humiliation or where a complaint
would be futile. In reaching its determination in this
case, the Board considered the sexual harassment definition
promulgated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC). See, 29 C.F.R. Section 1604.11(a) (1980).
McCaughey v. Charles E. Brooks Law Office, 405-BH-84.
The employer repeatedly placed his hands on the claimant's breasts
or buttocks and put his hand up her skirt to touch her
in a personally offensive manner, but the claimant waited
four months before she quit. To state that the claimant
condoned this treatment because she worked at the establishment
for approximately four months is to penalize the claimant
for attempting to make the best of a bad situation for
as long as possible. The claimant quit for good cause.
Netzer v. Lori Enterprises, Inc., 393-BR-86.
The claimant was a victim of sexual harassment by a coworker, but did
not inform the employer of this and merely did not return
to work. Since she did not take steps to correct the situation,
she quit without good cause, but such an intolerable situation
still amounted to a valid circumstance. Parsons v.
Salisbury Nissan, Inc., 644-SE-88.
The claimant was physically and sexually assaulted by her supervisor
on the work premises, during work hours. This constitutes
good cause for leaving, especially where previous incidents
of sexual harassment by the same supervisor had been brought
to the attention of management. Torain v. Wackenhut Security, 62-BR-87.
Where the employer brushed off the claimant's complaints about sexual
harassment by coworkers, but the claimant failed to file
a formal grievance about this, the claimant quit without
good cause, but with valid circumstances. Haynes v. Giant Food, Inc., 223-BR-90.
The claimant was sexually fondled, then sexually harassed by one who
was in a position to make her employment miserable if
she didn't consent. When she didn't consent, the employer
deliberately repeatedly accused her of having a bad attitude.
The claimant voluntarily quit for good cause. Bartholow
v. Reisterstown Twin Kiss, 1280-BR-91.
The employer would not promote the claimant to the position
of assistant manager or manager despite the fact that
the claimant's evaluations had always been very satisfactory
and that she had, in fact, performed the duties of assistant
manager and manager in the past. The employer had a record
of not having promoted any women to management or assistant
management positions or even to the grocery manager position,
from which they could be promoted to assistant manager
or manager. The claimant was discriminated against because
she is a female and she therefore had good cause attributable
to the employer for voluntarily quitting her job.
Hill v. Eastern Shore Markets, Inc., 18-SE-87.
4. Interference with Employee's Work
The claimant's resignation due to numerous disciplinary
warnings and reprimands for low production does not constitute
good cause. However, the claimant has valid circumstances
where the low production and consequential reprimands were
caused by the employer's constant shifting of the claimant
from one machine to another. Harris v. Del Mar Manufacturing,
The lack of necessary equipment and outside labor to perform the
claimant's job duties in a satisfactory manner, where
such equipment and labor was promised by the employer
at the time of hire, constitutes a valid circumstance
for resignation. DePasquale v. Maryland School for the Blind, 720-BH-81.
5. Encroachment into Employee's Personal Life
The employer had no right to require the claimant to withdraw
his application for another job. The claimant had good
cause for quitting. Whitaker v. Docu-Data Corporation, 1093-BR-89.
The claimant left her part-time job in order to take advantage of free
training offered by her full-time employer (for whom she
was still working at the time she quit the part-time job).
The training would increase her opportunities for full-time
work, once the full-time job ended. The part-time job
did not actually interfere with the claimant's full-time
job itself. Therefore, the claimant did not have good
cause for quitting. However, since it did interfere with
a substantial benefit offered by her full-time employer,
and one that would greatly increase her ability to obtain
full-time work, the claimant left her part-time job for
a substantial cause, connected with the conditions of
employment. Therefore, valid circumstances are present.
Wilson v. Citicorp Financial, Inc., 1397-BR-93.
6. Employer's Business Practices
The claimant's resignation due to his unwillingness to
engage in the unlawful practice of charging customers
for unnecessary work constitutes good cause. Harris
v. Rapid Rooter, 1599-BH-82.
The claimant was required, by his employer, to violate state and federal
health and safety regulations in performing his work (asbestos
removal). The claimant walked off without notice because
he had already complained and had no expectations that
further complaints would lead to a better result. The
claimant quit with good cause. Hughes v. All State
The employer's attempt to issue a false W-2 statement to the claimant
for the purpose of avoiding taxes is a significant violation
of the employment agreement amounting to good cause.
Meyer v. Vincent, 1859-BR-92.
The employer ordered the claimant to file a claim against her own insurance
company based on a theft of the employer's car from the
employer's premises in a situation where the car was in
the control and possession of the employer but the claimant
had been temporarily using it. The claimant's refusal
to risk her own insurance rating and coverage was reasonable.
She had good cause for quitting. Bass v. Foreign Motors Subaru, Inc., 1018-BR-93.
The claimant's resignation was for good cause where he resigned because
of his pay rate and because the employer required that
he participate in unlawful insurance practices. Kosinski
v. Western Southern Life Insurance Company, 2270-BR-83.
7. Drug Screening
The claimant, who had previously undergone treatment for
a drug problem, agreed to take a drug screening test after
he exhibited behavior consistent with drug use. However,
he never showed up for the test and never reported to
work again. The employer's request was reasonable under
the circumstances. This was a voluntary quit without good
cause or valid circumstances. Benneman v. Murry's Steaks, Inc., 236-BH-87.