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Nickerson v. Employment Dept.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 06-06-2012
Case #: A147745
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A147745.pdf

Employment Law: Unemployment benefits eligibility under ORS 657.221 are determined at the time of the claim based on whether a "reasonable assurance" of employment exists. Gaining reasonable assurance of employment after being eligible cannot retroactively defeat unemployment benefits eligibility.

Nickerson, a teacher's aide, was employed by the Multnomah County School District (MCSD) for the 2009-2010 school year. He was assured he would be offered the same position for the 2010-2011 school year. However, in July of 2010, MCSD retracted its offer to Nickerson and others due to budget cuts. Nickerson claimed unemployment benefits; he was denied in August and requested a hearing. On September 2, while the hearing was pending, MCSD cancelled the lay offs and informed Nickerson that he would be employed for the 2010-2011 school year. An ALJ and the Employment Appeals Board (EAB) upheld the denial. The EAB reasoned that Nickerson was ineligible because 1) he had reasonable assurance from a former employer that he would have employment for the 2010-2011 school year, and 2) MCSD had canceled the layoffs, thereby rescinding the withdrawal of a reasonable assurance of employment, effective retroactively. The Court of Appeals held that there was no evidence to conclude that Nickerson ever had any assurance from his former employer that he would have employment, and that eligibility cannot be determined retroactively. Reversed and remanded.