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Can i get unemployment in pa if a job is causing health issues for me.

by steven sansig
(pennsylvania)

I was employed for 14 years with a job driving and filling soda machines and was laid off.


I got unemployment for 1 month and found a new job. I took this job and I can't keep up with the fast pace (I only have a half of my right foot) this makes my leg hurt. The first job was great I could sit on the drive to my next account and that was all I needed.

The new job is all in one place and no sitting for 10 hours per day or longer. I just can't keep this up. My knee is swollen and my bad foot hurts. I now have no health insurance so if I mess up my body I'm done.

What do i do? steven


Hi Steven,

You are right to be concerned about getting unemployment benefits back if you quit this new job. Mind if I ask how long you've been with the new job?

If you voluntarily quit you will have to show that it is with good cause.

When we start collecting unemployment, we are required to look for "suitable work". One should always find out what our states criteria is for suitable work and find out about any special provisions because a "refusal of suitable work" if offered can stop benefits and a disqualification is imposed .. and it's usually comparable to the one for a voluntary quit.

PA defines suitable work with the following:
(Copy and pasted from the section 402)
(t) "Suitable Work" means all work which the employe is capable of performing. In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, the department shall consider the degree of risk involved to his health, safety and
morals, his physical fitness, prior training and experience, and the distance of the available work from his residence. The department shall also consider among other factors the length of time he has been unemployed and the reasons therefor, the prospect of obtaining local work in his customary occupation, his previous earnings, the prevailing condition of the labor market generally and particularly in his usual trade or occupation, prevailing wage rates in his usual trade or occupation, and the permanency of his residence. However, notwithstanding any other provisions of this subsection no work shall be deemed suitable in which (1) the position offered is vacant, due directly to a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute, or (2) the remuneration, hours or other conditions of the work offered are substantially less favorable to the employe than those prevailing for similar work in the locality, or (3) as a condition of being employed, the employe would be required to join a company union, or to resign from, or refrain from joining, any bona fide labor organization. ((t)
amended May 23, 1949, P.L.1738, No.530)


Please note the part about physical fitness.

You do have health issues now. This was the only reason you presented as the reason you want to quit. The need to take action before you quit to show you have a necessitous and compelling reason to leave is still necessary. In other words you need to go to the employer and tell them what your problem is and ask for accommodations.

You would be well advised to see a doctor and tell them what is going on and see if they will give you medical documentation which provides work restrictions for your physical problem. Because it makes "proving" much easier. It validates a physical limitation.

If you can get something along these lines from your doctor .. present it to the employer .. they either need to accommodate the work restrictions or they don't because they either won't or have no work available to accommodate the restrictions. If they don't, they will have basically given you good cause to quit for a compelling reason because tried to preserve the employment before you up and quit. In other words you've shifted the burden back to the employer and the quit becomes "involuntary".

I hope this helps you to understand what you should do if you hope to get your benefits back without any problems.

Good Luck,
Chris

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