Will quitting a part-time job after I filed a claim stop me from receiving unemployment

by Brian
(Nevada)

I have been receiving unemployment benefits since January from the State of Nevada after being laid off from my full-time job.


For the past three years, I have held a part-time job as a mystery shopper. My average pay was approximately $200 per month at that job. It was strictly a
supplement to my full-time work.

At the end of March, I decided to relocate from the State of Nevada to Louisiana where I lived formerly. I advised Nevada Unemployment of my move. I left the part-time job and thought nothing of it besides the fact that I would no longer be reporting that part-time income to Nevada Unemployment.

Yesterday, I received a letter of investigation from Nevada Unemployment and my payments have been suspended pending an investigative phone call this Friday. I spoke to them on the phone today and they informed me that the investigation is to look into my reasons for leaving the part-time job. That employer informed Nevada that I quit to move out of state.

My question for you is: will the fact that I quit this job upon leaving the State of Nevada to seek employment in Louisiana suffice to show good cause when the part-time job I quit was extremely low-paying, was an independent contractor position and was never my full-time job, nor could it have been a full-time job
due to the very small amount of work available and the pay.

Thank you for reading this posting and I hope it finds it's way onto your Q & A because I could not find anyone else with a similar situation.



Answer:

Hi Brian,

It's here, I've explained many times the problem of quitting a part-time job subsequent to filing a claim for benefits.

A claim is controlled by the separation from the "most recent work" and your part-time job was your last employer.

Since you quit a job in Nevada .. let's let them explain. Unemployment rules for quitting a job in Nevada

You will notice that Nevada does allow you to quit for "compelling personal reasons".

What you didn't tell me that I believe is important:

Tell me what is the compelling reason for moving back to Louisiana?

Tell me if you could have requested a transfer and been a mystery shopper in LA, but that they told you they had nothing for you. aka Efforts to preserve the work.
This is an iffy argument at best, but worthy of at least trying with if you are able to prove you had a compelling reason in the first place.

I know your reason was personal .. so please read the additional information offered by Nevada on the subject of quitting for personal reasons. It's very limited.



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Aug 28, 2010
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winning arguments
by: Brian

I have not yet received the opinion. I should receive it sometime in the next two weeks. At the close of the hearing, the Referee stated, "I don't usually do this, but I'm going to give you my opinion from the bench because you are sort of in limbo between Las Vegas and New Orleans. I'm going to find that you had "good cause" to quit your job and reinstate your benefits."

I came back to Las Vegas to attend the hearing. I felt it better to be there in person than to do it over the phone from New Orleans. No one from the Department of Unemployment or my former employer showed up (the former employer really didn't care and had, in fact, offered me work).

The Referee took a lot of testimony on the part time job, asking me how I was paid (by the job, not hourly), how many assignments were available each month and whether I could make full-time work out of it. I presented evidence in the form of our monthly schedule which showed the limited number of jobs available to me. Based on my income records, it was clear that I averaged $150/month in income over the last 2+ years from the job. I stressed the illogical nature of the Department's decision in denying benefits based on quitting such a "nothing" of a job, when, fully-employed, I stand to make $50,000 or more annually. The Referee seemed fair and wanted to get all evidence necessary regarding the job.

My argument focused on the paltry income; that it was not my chosen profession; that it was a "fun" job, not a "real" job; that income potential was small; and that holding that job could actually stand in the way of making real progress. I made a policy argument that forcing people to hold part-time jobs like this and remain in the State is counter-productive in cases like mine. I stressed financial hardship and the financial relief I obtained by moving in with a friend and thereby saving $500/month.

It was really tough to live with virtually no income for a couple of months, but I'm glad they got around to the appeal sooner than later and I'm very happy I prevailed. I will post more when I receive the formal opinion.

Brian

Aug 27, 2010
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What section of statute did they use
by: Chris

Brian,

Would you mind telling us what section or statute or even reference case law was used to support the conclusion or decision for the findings of fact?

Aug 27, 2010
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I won my appeal!!!
by: Brian

I had my hearing on Wednesday and the referee was sympathetic to my situation. He agreed with my argument that mystery shopping was not a "job" that should have disqualified me from receiving my unemployment benefits and found that I had "good cause" to quit the job and move to Louisiana to seek employment in my actual profession. Being cut off was quit an ordeal, but I'm extremely relieved to have won. Thanks for your help.


That is wonderful!!

Just goes to show .. the claims department was found to be wrong and that appeals may be a pain, but are often worth the effort.

Congratulations Brian, and all the best!

Chris

Jul 21, 2010
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I'm not certain you can offer a valid argument
by: Chris - unemployment-tips.com

Hi Brian,

Tips for an argument .. well that's a tough one and although, of late, I'm trying to keep my finger shut and stay confined to the appropriate resources that may shed light for you.

But, I have a very hard time doing that .. because I have one foot permanently, planted on my soapbox which I apparently, enjoy jumpin' up on.

First, I'm hoping the irony of the following link and the wording which seems to me, exclusionary, if you don't happen to have a spouse or partner to follow as a reason in NV .. seems just slightly intentional and personally, I think discriminatory toward single people.

Nevada's letter and documentation to comply with the "Assistance for unemployed workers and struggling families act

Although a guess, it does not sound like you had to follow a spouse and interestingly if Nevada outlines this provision .. they must have buried it somewhere deep within the statutes which I couldn't find with a cursory look/see.

I have a couple suggestions though.

Maybe one of your attorney friends would scour case law to find a compelling argument to suit you or anyone willing could just tryout the 24 hour free trial at fastcase.com and do their own legal research.

I used mine long ago and can't afford it yet nor care to have any more emails.

Even if someone were to follow a spouse to a new location .. many states hold their feet to the fire to prove the financial infeasibility of maintaining two households despite what statutes may say .. about good cause for family continuity.

If you don't know this .. what do they care if you don't bring your "guns" so to speak to prove the cause.

Financial records, testimony about trying to find a cheaper place to live, shut-off notices, inability to pay car insurance .. basically the whole ball of wax which should make the "compelling" need so obvious that even a budgeting idiot see there was no alternative.

In your case .. I have concerns, but I say what the heck .. is there really anything to lose at this point .. besides your time and efforts?

I might also mention that seeking alternatives still applies .. so even though you knew that the mystery shopping was local only .. did you "ask the employer about the possibility of doing it in a cheaper "cost of living" labor market. It's just a good measure I'd throw in as a compulsive CYA type.

Sorry I can't be more hopeful.

Jul 21, 2010
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additional info
by: Brian

First, let me say thank you for replying to my original post. Now for the bad news: I received my ruling and have now been disqualified from unemployment because the Department found my reasons for leaving my part time job to be "personal" only. I think this stinks and am now drafting my appeal.

Allow me answer your two questions, but in reverse order:

As to the second question, whether I could have done mystery shopping here, the answer is no. My firm operated primarily in Nevada, with a few jobs in California. They had nothing in Louisiana.

Regarding the first question--my reasons for relocating--there are several:

1) The economy/job market in Las Vegas. Over a span of only 8 months, I was laid off from full time employment on three different occasions due to the poor Las Vegas economy. I had one job for 2.5 years and was laid off at the end of April 2009. I got a new job three weeks later, but was laid off in early October 2009 because my employer could not pay me. She had an upturn in business and was able to bring me back from Nov. 1-Dec. 30. I spent January-March 2010 diligently looking for a job in Vegas with absolutely no success.

2) A corollary to the above factor was the actual unemployment rates of both locations at the time I moved. The April unemployment rate in Las Vegas was 13.4% and Nevada's rate was highest in the nation. The April unemployment rate in Louisiana was half that: 6.7% and tied for 7th lowest in the country.

3) Economic situation. Between my monthly essentials of rent, car payment, insurance, utilities and food, I could barely make ends meet on unemployment even with the $150-200/month extra I made from the part-time job. By relocating to New Orleans, I was able to cut my bills by 1/3 by moving in with a friend and splitting things like utilities and food. Rent is $300/month less.

4) Network of friends/business associates. I lived in New Orleans for 15 years before moving to Las Vegas in 2006. I have a network of friends and business associates who are offering me assistance in finding a job. Hasn't happened yet, but some very well-respected attorneys are ready to give glowing recommendations to potential employers.

I felt that the above reasons were sufficient good cause to warrant quitting a job where my average income was approximately $150/month. Unemployment felt otherwise. I am now drafting my appeal, which, unfortunately, they tell me will take "months" to be resolved.

If you have any tips for arguments in my appeal, I would love to hear them. Again, thank you very much for replying to my post.

Brian


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