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If I quit because of poor business decisions by the owners will that be considered good cause in Illinois?

by Cindy

I am a manager of a retail flooring store and have been for several years. The past few years have become very bad as far as the business end of things.

Due to decreased cash flow, my employers have been unable to pay their vendors which in turn makes it very difficult to get material in for the current customers.

I end up taking phone calls from hostile customers daily wondering when their material will arrive. A few nights ago one of these hostile customers came into the store to demand their money back. I listened to their grievances and refunded their money while the owner sat in a desk behind me listening. Not once did he attempt to step into the conversation and "help".

The decrease in sales the past year has also caused me to reduce my sales staff. The owners of the company refuse to help cover the store hours so there are times when the sales staff is required to work alone.

I have confronted the owners several times asking them when/if things are going to get any better. The answer I have gotten for almost a year has always been "give us a few more weeks".

I learned a few days ago that the only way out for them is to find outside investors to buy in. I consider this a buy-out situation.


Hi Cindy,

It's doubtful the reason you gave for quitting would be considered good cause.

Although an attorney might be able to make something out of the the constant hostile phone calls and the apparent willingness of the owner to allow you to be harassed by the hostile customers.

Before you quit, it would be wise to talk to an attorney, even if it's just a consultation. This is just one option Illinois Legal Aid to start with.

The optimum time to consult with an attorney is BEFORE you quit, and it should be one that specializes in employment law.

Below is the Illinois unemployment statute regarding voluntary quitting:

(Of course access to case law or "precedent decisions" which is what an attorney has and THAT is fundamental to understanding what "good cause" means in any state.)

(820 ILCS 405/601) (from Ch. 48, par. 431)
Sec. 601. Voluntary leaving.
A. An individual shall be ineligible for benefits for the week in which he has left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the employing unit and, thereafter, until he has become reemployed and has had earnings equal to or in excess of his current weekly benefit amount in each of four calendar weeks which are either for services in employment, or have been or will be reported pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act by each employing unit for which such services are performed and which submits a statement certifying to that fact.
B. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to an individual who has left work voluntarily:
1. Because he is deemed physically unable to perform his work by a licensed and practicing physician, or has left work voluntarily upon the advice of a licensed and practicing physician that assistance is necessary for the purpose of caring for his spouse, child, or parent who is in poor physical
health and such assistance will not allow him to perform the usual and customary duties of his employment, and he has notified the employing unit of the reasons for his absence;
2. To accept other bona fide work and, after such
acceptance, the individual is either no unemployed in each of 2 weeks, or earns remuneration for such work equal to at least twice his current weekly benefit amount;
3. In lieu of accepting a transfer to other work
offered to the individual by the employing unit under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or pursuant to an established employer plan, program, or policy, if the acceptance of such other work by the individual would require the separation from that work of another individual currently performing it;
4. Solely because of the sexual harassment of the
individual by another employee. Sexual harassment means (1) unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact or other conduct or communication which is made a term or condition of the employment or (2) the employee's submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication which is the basis for decisions affecting employment, or (3) when such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment and the employer knows or should know of the existence of the harassment and fails to take timely and appropriate action;
5. Which he had accepted after separation from other work, and the work which he left voluntarily would be deemed unsuitable under the provisions of Section 603;
6. (a) Because the individual left work due to
circumstances resulting from the individual being a victim of domestic violence as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986; and provided, such individual has made reasonable efforts to preserve the employment.
For the purposes of this paragraph 6, the individual shall be treated as being a victim of domestic violence if the individual provides the following:
(i) written notice to the employing unit of the
reason for the individual's voluntarily leaving; and (ii) to the Department provides:
(A) an order of protection or other
documentation of equitable relief issued by a court of competent jurisdiction; or
(B) a police report or criminal charges
documenting the domestic violence; or
(C) medical documentation of the domestic violence; or
(D) evidence of domestic violence from a
counselor, social worker, health worker or domestic violence shelter worker.
(b) If the individual does not meet the provisions of subparagraph (a), the individual shall be held to have voluntarily terminated employment for the purpose of determining the individual's eligibility for benefits pursuant to subsection A.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision to the
contrary, evidence of domestic violence experienced by an individual, including the individual's statement and corroborating evidence, shall not be disclosed by the Department unless consent for disclosure is given by the individual.
7. Because the individual left employment to
accompany a spouse who has been reassigned from one military assignment to another. The employer's account, however, shall not be charged for any benefits paid out to the individual who leaves to accompany a spouse reassigned from one military assignment to another.
(Source: P.A. 95‑736, eff. 7‑16‑08.)

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