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by Dave
(Hagerstown, Maryland Unemployment Benefits)

I recently worked for the state of Maryland for 5 years. Over the course of the 5 years, my anxiety and stress levels began to elevate. I was constantly exposed to disease, rough conditions and threats against my personal safety and the safety of my family. (Correctional Environment) I became so stressed from working in that environment that I ended seeing my doctor numerous times over the course of my 5 year employment for anxiety/stress issues related to the work place. During all of my doctor visits, he placed me off of work for a few days each time. (even prescribing medication to assist with anxiety and stress) As I neared my 5 years of employment, I decided that continuing to work in that atmosphere was no longer worth constant strain of stress and personal anxiety. I followed proper procedure and provided work with a 2 week notification. (I never provided HR with the reason for leaving, only provided the notice) I recently filed for UI benefits and was denied. I appealed, and just recently had my telephone interview. (Note: The employer NEVER showed up and the referee stated that we would proceed without the employer)I informed her that I voluntarily left employment due to psychological and stress/related issues) She interrupted me and told me that she would need documentation from my doctor stating that he put me off of work for the stated reasons. (she gave me 10 days to fax in this information) I contacted my doctor and they told me that they wouldn't fax my personal file over due to HIPPA regulations, but, they WOULD fax over a letter stating that I was seen in the office numerous time for "work related stress/anxiety" issues. My question(s) to you are simple ones..1: What are my chances of winning this appeal and having them rule in my favor to start collecting unemployment benefits) 2: Since I've already initially been denied, how often does Maryland reverse their initial denial of benefits ruling, and rule in favor

of the employee?

Thanks for ALL of your help! You're the best..

D from Maryland

Hi Dave,

I have no idea what the reversal percentage is .. although I know it's pretty high when employers are the appealing party .. primarily due to claimants not knowing how to defend their position.

And now .. the thing in your position that causes me to be concerned.

You told me you did not inform HR of why you were leaving .. which leads me to believe that you might not of also given the employer (St. of MD) the opportunity to accommodate you on your health related concerns .. which are in fact legitimate.

Question: Did you ever request a transfer to a less stressful position within the state?

Logically, that's an effort to preserve the employment and if the state refused to accommodate .. that's what makes the separation their fault .. because it's unreasonable.

Here's a couple sample employer protest for a situation as you described to me.

The claimant voluntarily quit for personal reasons unknown to the employer.

The claimant voluntarily quit without seeking any kind of accommodation from the employer first in an attempt to preserve the employment.

But, you also mentioned that you had been instructed to lay off from work by your doctor on different occasions .. which suggest to me that you might have been on intermittent FMLA or the possibility that you should have at least inquired or been informed about the possibility of this.

Precedent decisions that I know of, exist in other states that once an employee informs an employer of a health condition .. the burden is shifted to the employer to ask for the medical documentation .. if they don't .. it can become a problem for them at the hearing.

And it is first seeking accommodation and then being denied that, that creates an "objective decision" made regarding their health .. or the job.

MD Unemployment Digest .. So you can check MD decisions.

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