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What If a Company Closes It's Doors But Offers the Same Job at a location That Makes it Impractical?

by Anonymous
(New Mexico)

I have been working with the same Company for 10 years. The Company has decided to close their doors in NM. They did offer me employment in the same position in TX, however it doesn't seem realistic to move my children and spouse to another state. My son was accepted to college, and my daughter is very young. Not to mention I am expecting. I let them know that I would be unable to move to TX. They have mentioned twice now expecting my letter of resignation. I feel as if they are closing their doors and I dont have a practical choice. IS this considered a resignation? Should I turn in a letter of resignation? I should also mention that I had been told this office was going to close in three months and at that point if I did not move I would need to seek out new employment. After letting them know that I could not move, I was told the office was closing in one month and that would be it. Then two days later was told the office would still close in one month, but that I could work from home for two months. I don't want to jeopordize that pay for two months and working from home, but I truly don't feel I should turn in a resignation letter? Could you please advise?

If the Employer Moves to a New Location

As it stands in New Mexico, the law is very similar to that in other states. My research of the issue is as follows:

A transfer of a claimant’s work from one geographical location to another beyond a reasonable commuting distance will, as a general rule, be good cause in connection with the employment for quitting that work. As a general rule, employees are not required to relocate their residences or travel beyond their recognized job market area to maintain their employment. With that being said, there are several exceptions to this rule:

1 If relocation of the work is a regular and customary practice and condition of employment in the industry, such as heavy construction, claimants who make this work their customary career must follow the work as required. A refusal to go where the work is performed will generally be treated as a leaving without good cause in connection with the employment.

2 If travel or relocation among different offices or business establishments of an employer is an express term and condition of the agreement of hire, the claimant will be disqualified if he refuses to travel or relocate in accordance with those terms.

3 When a claimant accepts relocation or agrees to commute an unusual distance for a period of time at least longer than a reasonable trial period, he waives his right to subsequently quit on the grounds that such relocation or commuting constitutes good cause for leaving work. If he accepts the conditions, his leaving will be without good cause in connection with the employment.

4 If the assignment to a different work site is only temporary or occasional, it does not cause a substantial harm or detriment to the claimant, and it serves a reasonable business purpose, the rule will not apply, and the claimant will be subject to disqualification for refusing such assignments.

Based upon the facts presented to me thus, far, it would appear that you would have strong grounds for quitting your job and being able to collect unemployment benefits should you choose to do so - the reason being that your having relocate to another state to maintain employment would likely be viewed as such a substantial a change in the conditions of your employment so as to be deemed a discharge from your old employment with an offer of new work presented to you. The new work would not be deemed reasonable as it would require you to move out of state to maintain employment with your current employer.

With that being said, my analysis is based upon the assumption that the nature of your job does not fall within one of the four exceptions specifically noted above. Given that exceptions do exist to the general rule, and it is the responsibility of the person who quits their job to prove they had good cause for quitting, I always tell people to make the employer the one to have expressly discharged them with the reason being that in a discharge case the employer has to prove they had a good cause reason for terminating the employee. In your case, the employer would have a hard time arguing that they discharged you because you would not agree to move out of state to maintain your employment.

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