Henley v. Employment Dept.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: 04-12-2017
  • Case #: A157790
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Flynn, J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 657.176(2)(c), "good cause" for voluntarily leaving work is "such that a reasonable and prudent person of normal sensitivity, exercising ordinary common sense, would leave work."

Claimant sought judicial review of a final order of the Employment Appeals Board (Board) which concluded he voluntarily left work without good cause, and thus, ineligible for unemployment benefits. ORS 657.176(2)(c). The board based its determination on the finding that Claimant “was not genuinely fearful” when he quit his job. Claimant assigned error to the boards determination that a safety concern did not provide good cause to leave work because he did not explore other options to alleviate the safety concern before quitting.  On appeal, Claimant argued he did not need to be fearful once he left the workplace, and did not need to pursue other options. “Good cause for voluntarily leaving work under ORS 657.176(2)(c) is such that a reasonable and prudent person of normal sensitivity, exercising ordinary common sense, would leave work . . . [the reason for quitting must be] of such gravity that the individual has no reasonable alternative but to leave work.” OAR 471-030-0038(4). The Court of Appeals found the evidence presented to the Board supported the finding that “claimant had a reasonable alternative to quitting work when he did, even if he genuinely feared for his safety.” Affirmed. 

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