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Aguilar v. Employment Dept.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-05-2013
Case #: A151042
Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A151042.pdf

Employment Law: To receive unemployment benefits, the "good cause" standard is determined as whether a reasonable person would have considered the circumstances to be sufficiently grave that he or she had no alternative but to resign.

Aguilar appealed the Employment Appeals Board’s decision to deny her unemployment benefits due to a lack of “good cause.” Aguilar believed the Board erred in accepting the ALJ’s conclusion, that she did not have good cause to resign, as required under ORS 657.176(2)(c), in order to receive unemployment benefits. Aguilar was a teacher for the Salem-Keizer School District for 14 years. In June 2011, her employer told her that she would be reassigned to a bilingual classroom the next school year. In August 2011, she was told that she would be terminated for failing to have the required certificates to teach a bilingual class. Her employer told her that, if she were to resign, they would not oppose her decision to seek unemployment benefits and she would regain her seniority if she was rehired in the future. She resigned one day before her imminent termination. The Court of Appeals agreed with Aguilar. The standard for good cause is “whether a reasonable person… would have considered the circumstances to be sufficiently grave that she had no alternative but to resign.” Here, Aguilar knew she was going to be fired. The employer told her the benefits of resigning, instead of being discharged. Therefore, there was good cause to voluntarily resign. Reverse and Remanded.