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Warkentin v. Employment Dept.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-17-2011
Case #: A146883
Sercombe, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Rosenblum, S.J
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A146883.pdf

Employment Law: In order for an employee to quit with good cause and collect unemployment insurance benefits, an employee must have left employment under circumstances that a reasonable person would believe they had no reasonable alternative to leaving their job and such findings be the EAB must be supported by substantial evidence.

Warkentin was an administrative assistant for four physicians at Northwest Cardiologists. Warkentin was overwhelmed by her workload, but the employer did nothing to change the amount of work she given to her, and she could not take medical leave. Prior to her employment at Northwest Cardiologists, Warkentin had previously experienced emotional instability and attempted suicide. Consequently, Warkentin experienced emotional stress and depression at her current job. Warkentin believed she had no alternative but to quit her position and subsequently applied applied for unemployment benefits. The Employment Appeals Board (EAB) found that there were several alternatives to quitting her job, so the EAB held Warkentin did not leave for good cause and was therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits. After reviewing the EAB’s decision, the Court reversed the decision and held that in order for an employee to quit with good cause and collect unemployment insurance benefits, an employee must have left employment under circumstances that a reasonable person would believe they had no reasonable alternative to leaving their job. In this case, the Court held Warkentin’s belief was reasonable. Moreover, parts of the EAB’s ruling were not supported by substantial evidence. REVERSED AND REMANDED.