Salaried work from home status recalled. now have to obtain 12 hrs of childcare daily and commute 120+ miles RT to keep job
I have been employed with my company for very close to 5 years, in the state of TX. About 3 years ago, my employer allowed me to start working from home and shortly thereafter switched me from hourly to salary. Over the course of those 3 years we joined with a PEO service and I was then contracted back to my employer via the PEO. A year and a half ago I moved to a much cheaper city, with the blessing of my employer to continue working from home.
A few days ago I informed my employer that both I and the one employee who reported to me were being wrongfully classified as overtime-exempt. That same day we were notified to stop work immediately and report to the office the next morning with all of our equipment. We were informed at this meeting that we would now be required to work on site, under direct supervision, and were hourly employees effective immediately. We had to turn in time sheets and are only being paid the hours we worked during that pay period. Leaving our checks short a full weeks pay.
I live over 60 miles away from my office and have a toddler at home that I now have to secure nearly 12 hours of childcare for M-F, I also have a 12 and 8 year old who will require care after school and for full days once summer vacation starts. I am a single mother and their father lives near my office but refuses to watch them at all. I have been told that I can not work weekends, only the days that my direct supervisor is in the office. As of today I am on an unpaid leave of absence while I try to arrange childcare subsidies and secure the funds for gas to get back and forth to work.
My question is would resigning be considered an action caused by my employer, or would the unemployment office consider it a transportation matter that I opted not to deal with? I would like to resign and be able to draw unemployment benefits while I seek local employment.
Chris's Question - Was There a Substantial Change to The Terms and Conditions of Employment and in Affect, Makes a Quit, a Constructed Discharge by Your Employer?
For those who read your question, but don't know, a PEO is a "professional employer organization", typically providing varied HR management services to other business, but the PEO is this
employee's employer of record.
I think there was a substantial change to the terms and conditions of your employment since you have been telecommuting for about three years now and even after you moved with your employer's knowledge that far away from the physical location of the real office a lot of time had passed .. until now.
But since you do live in Texas, I'll leave it to you to explore the Texas appeals policy and precedent manual to find support for the argument and good cause connected to the actions of the employer suddenly forcing ou into a physical office sixty, or so miles away from where you have been working for about the past year.
I'm pretty sure you must already suspect this might be retaliatory for reporting you and your direct report have been misclassified as exempt employees, therefore not being paid OT.
But, I find it odd, that on just your say so, unless you're the expert on FLSA matters, that this employer would on only your say so, immediately take an action that could very well in a different venue other than unemployment, potentially be interpreted as retaliatory by the TX human rights commission, or the EEOC, if you were to file a wage complaint to receive back unpaid OT. Don't you?
Unemployment hearing officers do not have the jurisdiction to resolve these types of employee right issues, they only have purview to fully explore what's necessary to determine if the employee was given good cause by the employer due to their actions that basically set up the scenario the employee believe forced them to think they had no other option, but to quit.
So study those Texas Unemployment Precedents
and you let me know how it goes ..
Because I would fight any denial of benefits all the way to an appeal hearing under the same circumstances beleiving that the employer had substantially changed the long term terms and conditions of my employment to such a degree that the job became unsuitable in it's distance from my home, and that that distance imposed a significant reduction to earnings given the additional expense of getting there.
I myself would leave the childcare as secondary, because even single parents earning minimum wage are expected to take care of the cost of child care to work, or find a program that aids them to financially afford childcare. Might be different if the employer had a free daycare program when hired and then dropped it.