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Salaried work from home status recalled. now have to obtain 12 hrs of childcare daily and commute 120+ miles RT to keep job

by Anonymous

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.

Comments for Salaried work from home status recalled. now have to obtain 12 hrs of childcare daily and commute 120+ miles RT to keep job

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Mar 27, 2015
Thank you
by: Erin

Thank you for your very helpful answer/advice. It's still a terrifying process, but I now have a little more reassurance going forward.

As to the issue of retaliation, I have been told that following discussions with the PEO and the Labor Board, that they can not legally allow me to work from home, be salaried anymore, or supervise employees. It sounds like BS to me, but that's a separate issue that I can explore in a more leisurely time frame.
My first concern is funding my household, so I am going to attempt some more negotiating before resigning, to make my case for benefits as strong as possible. Thank you also for the link. I will explore that, and I will post final outcome and details to provide information to others in similar positions

Mar 27, 2015
Because you mentioned the Labor Board
by: CK

I'm not an attorney Erin, but one of the things I learned working for a UI cost control company was that when a company's general counsel called me about a little old unemployment appeal hearing it usually had something to do with with whether collateral estoppel (issue preclusion) was also part of a state's unemployment law .. or not.

Seems in some states this is what made, or broke an unemployment appeal hearing being used as basically, a free discovery tool (an attorney told me this) for a claimant's attorney with a separate complaint, or action going in a different civil venue.

I'm thinking it might be a good idea if you check TX unemployment law, for mention of that legal concept .. before the possibility it may be something to deal with after an unemployment hearing decision is made..

I know an employment attorney and he has asked if I wouldn't mind letting him answer questions that involve more employee rights issues than just unemployment insurance .. I think I'll ask him if he wants to jump in here and leave a comment that might help me better understand why issue preclusion might also matter to an unemployed person.

Aug 26, 2016
by: Anonymous

After almost 2 years with the same employer they leased out to another company transferring me to another place same owner's cutting my hours from 36 to 40 plus hours will it effect my unemployment claim if I quit this company or do I have to take this transfer

Aug 26, 2016
Assuming It's a Leased Temp Employee Asking for Help
by: Chris -

I'm not sure why you chose this, as the best question to post your comment asking for help to, when it probably should of been hung on a different type of question about being a temporary, or a leased out employee.

The state this is happening in, can matter here as explained on that page about what happens when the temp, or leased employee is affected by special voluntary quit provisions specifically written for them.

Quitting with good cause for "transferring me to another place same owner's cutting my hours from 36 to 40 plus hours"

This alone, leaves a lot I would desire to meet a burden of proof to quit , if I knew I would have to meet the burden of having good cause to quit any job .. let alone this type of at-will job where you still need to clarify how the change to the terms and conditions of employment .. were made substantial by the employer.

Given what I have to go on to make an informed guess ..

Yes, I would expect quitting would negatively impact any remaining benefit balance on a current benefit year, or any new claim after quitting a temp job for that small of a reduction in hours (stoppage of overtime hours does not equate to a substantial reduction in pay and therefore not going to have even the possibility of good cause to quit what is still a full-time job).

However, having said this .. the change in location of where you work, could be something to check if it substantially causes you to travel much further to and from work .. for less money now..

But you will need to use the search bar to research that potential reason.. because there is plenty of Q&As about that and they are enough to find plenty of free advice that way.

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