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Disqualified from benefits due to acquiring then quitting a part-time job while receiving benefits

by Ryan

I was approved for UI benefits after being released from a full-time job I held for five years. While receiving benefits, I acquired a part-time job working as a sales associate at a sporting goods retailer. My first two days on the job were dedicated to completing initial employee paperwork and viewing several videos that covered topics such as loss prevention and the history of the company. My third day on the job was my first day on the sales floor with a company-certified trainer. A newly hired associate is expected to spend between two to three days with a trainer observing specific selling procedures, learning about the thousands of products sold by the sporting goods retailer, and other elements of the job that are critical to ensuring a new associate is comfortable and confident while interacting with customers.

Twenty minutes after I began that third shift, which was my first shift on the sales floor, the store manager advised my trainer his assistance was needed in another department, and I was to remain by myself. I immediately objected to the separation, indicating to my trainer that I was not prepared to remain by myself. His response was “I have faith in you”, and proceeded to the other department. I also expressed my concerns to the manager several times throughout the evening; however, I never received any support. Although I was never issued a name tag, possessed no product knowledge, nor had I even been given a tour of the store, the store management expected me to perform the job of a sales associate. At one point during my shift, while assisting a family that was shopping for football equipment, I became so flustered and uncomfortable due to my lack of training I eventually had to tell them it was my first day on the floor and I had absolutely no idea where anything in the store is located nor any knowledge of the equipment they were looking to purchase. I then apologized to them for my poor performance.

Before I left work that evening I again informed both the manager the trainer that I was not comfortable with what I had experienced during my first shift on the sales floor, and I felt it was important for the store to follow the appropriate training guidelines. Unfortunately, my feedback was dismissed. Two days later, I received a voicemail message from a different store manager who indicated two employees did not show up for their shifts and he requested that I come in and work. Not only did this tell me that neither the manager or trainer communicated to the other members of management the events that occurred during my last shift, but also that another member of management was content with an employee working without proper training. Later that day, I called and notified a manager that, due to their complete disregard for the quality of their staff and inability to ensure employees receive adequate training, I am quitting.

I received a notice from the Kansas Department of Labor that I will need to submit another initial application for benefits indicating the sporting goods retailer
was my last employer. I was sent a notice of a "scheduled call" and separation statement to complete and return to them prior to the call. After the scheduled call, I was notified by the KS Department of Labor my separation with the sporting goods retailer was considered a voluntary quit without good cause and I am not eligible for benefits. In addition, because I had already received weekly benefits, I am now required to repay those benefits.

I replied today with a letter requesting an appeal hearing. I feel my eligibility for benefits should be reinstated.

Kansas law gives twelve (12) reasons for which an employee may voluntarily quit his or her employment and still qualify for benefits:
1. Leaving work upon the advice of a physician, with consent of the employer, due to illness or injury. After being released by the physician to return to work, the employee offers to return to his or her work and finds no comparable work is now available.
2. Leaving temporary employment to return to regular employment.
3. Leaving work to enter military service and the entry is rejected or delayed.
4. Leaving work because of a transfer or acceptance of other work by the employee’s spouse at a geographical location that is beyond reasonable commuting distance.
5. Leaving work because of hazardous working conditions.
6. Leaving work to enter training approved under the Federal Trade Act of 1974.
7. Leaving work because of unwelcome harassment.
8. Leaving work to accept better work and the new work either fails to materialize or ends after a short period of time.
9. Leaving work as a result of being instructed or required to violate the law in the commission of the job.
10. Leaving work because the employer violated the work agreement and the employee exhausted all remedies available for settlement of the dispute before leaving.
11. Leaving work as a result of a compelling personal emergency after having made reasonable efforts to preserve the work.
12. Leaving work because of domestic violence.

Can I argue that I had good cause for quitting because the employer expected me to perform the job without training causing a violation in the work agreement? And, since the concerns I expressed to my trainer and management that I was uncomfortable working without training were ignored, a reasonable person in a similar situation would also quit? Is expecting an employee to work without training considered "hazardous working conditions"?

I think it would be stretching it to say the lack of training made the conditions hazardous.

However, the refusal by the employer to provide the training agreed upon at time of hire probably had a lot to do with what you believed would make the work suitable to you.

This because I suspect you were new to this type of job and might have been out of line with what suitable work .. is to you. .. so it probably influenced your decision to take the job.

It would surprise me if the employer showed for a hearing as there is not enough liability to to be of concern after a few days employment.

Focus on 10

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