Recently, Attorney Murphy’s client received a favorable decision after an administrative unemployment benefits hearing of the Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The DUA originally denied the client unemployment benefits because he quit his job. The client was a high performing software engineer at a financial services company for more than 10 years. However, a new supervisor unfairly targeted the client in his performance evaluation. The client was put on a performance action plan, but the plan failed to contain well documented incidents which illustrate the behaviors that needed to be improved. The client made numerous attempts to reconcile his supervisor’s expectations, even involving human resources. Human resources, however, failed to appropriately respond. Thereafter, the client believed the situation to be unresolvable, and his health rapidly declined. In fact, the client was prescribed various medications to counteract the health issues related to this dysfunctioning workplace environment. The client grappled with the prospect of quitting but decided against it because of his family. Eventually, however, the client decided that for his health and well-being he needed to quit the position. The client applied for unemployment benefits, but the DUA denied his claim.
The client then contacted Attorney Murphy. Attorney Murphy provided a frank assessment which was that these type of cases are some of the most difficult to win. This is because the evidentiary burden required to satisfy the unemployment law is quite high. When an employee quits their job, the burden is on the employee to prove the underlying reasons are sufficient under the law. Yet, despite this uphill challenge Attorney Murphy took on the case.
Attorney Murphy prepared his client and elicited credible testimony from him at the administrative appeals hearing. Thereafter, the administrative review examiner concluded the health issues were caused by the employer’s mishandling of the Performance Improvement Procedure. Accordingly, the client was found entitled to receive benefits.
Attorney Murphy notes that this unfortunate case could have been avoided but for human resources inability to appropriately respond to their employee’s problem.