In August 2019, the Plaintiff began working for Defendant. On October 6, 2019, the Plaintiff submitted her two-weeks’ notice to her supervisor. The plaintiff was scheduled to work on October 8th and 9th, but she called out sick on both days. The Defendant told the Plaintiff that she was no longer required to return to work to complete her two weeks. The Plaintiff then filed for unemployment benefits and the Claims Deputy found that the Plaintiff was disqualified from benefits because she resigned from her employment. When an employee resigns from a position, that employee has the burden of showing good cause for resigning, such as a “substantial reduction in wages or hours or a substantial change in the original agreement of hire which represents a change in the working conditions to the employee’s detriment.”
Here, the Plaintiff complained about another employee who was talking behind the Plaintiff’s back, spreading rumors, and causing other issues that made the plaintiff feel she was being subjected to a hostile work environment. The Plaintiff reported her concerns to her supervisor and the general manager but never to human resources.
The Plaintiff appealed the decision to the Appeals Referee, who upheld the Claims Deputy’s decision. The Appeals Referee found that the Plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies by not reporting her concerns to human resources. The Plaintiff also never told Defendant that she would resign if her concerns were not address. Next, the Plaintiff appealed the decision to the Unemployment Board, who affirmed the Referee’s decision. The Board concluded that the Plaintiff failed to meet her burden. Finally, the Plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court.
The Court reviews the Board’s decision for legal error and whether its factual findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record. Substantial evidence means “such evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” 19 Del C. §3314 states that “an individual cannot qualify for unemployment benefits where that individual leaves work voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work.” Good cause exists if no reasonable prudent employee would have remained employed and the employee first exhausts all reasonable alternatives to resolve the issue, which means notifying the employer of the problem, requesting a solution and bringing the problem to the attention of someone in authority to make the necessary adjudgments.
Here, because the Plaintiff did not report her concerns to human resources or tell the Defendant that she would resign if her concerns were not addressed, the Court agreed with the Appeals Referee and the Board that the Defendant was not given adequate notice to address the Plaintiff’s concerns before she resigned.
Therefore, the Court affirmed the Board’s decision and found that the Board’s decision was supported by substantial evidence and was without legal error.
(Del.Super. 2021) [Not Reported]
Should you have any questions regarding this decision, or any liability law questions, please contact any attorney in our Liability Law Department.
Scott v Homewood Suites, 2021 WL 2577599