Must an employee give notice when quitting?
When Pipefitter First Grade Chuck Dancer was hired by Maintenance Supervisor Bill Southern, he confided that a rotor cup condition limited shoulder movement, and that he also had a “tennis elbow” type arm problem. From a work standpoint, he was well qualified. Southern assured him that when the problems did occur, they would be able to work around them.
For two or three months after Dancer’s starting date, his limitations were taken into account in the job assignments he received. But in time, they were gradually forgotten about or disregarded. Fearful of being fired, Dancer failed to remind Southern of his promise at the time he was hired, or complain that the violated restrictions were causing him physical problems.
One day several months later, Dancer phoned in to report he was “taking a few days off” because of arm and shoulder problems. This put the department in a bind since Dancer was the only Grade I pipefitter in the plant. At the end of the week, he called in again and notified Southern that he was resigning and planned to file for unemployment compensation.
When Dancer told him the reason, Southern tried to talk him out of quitting. He apologized, explaining that the promise made at hiring time to work around the physical limitations had slipped his mind. He assured him it would be adhered to if he returned to work. Dancer refused, saying his decision to quit was final. Southern then informed him he wasn’t entitled to unemployment compensation because of his failure to give the company sufficient notice of his decision to quit.
Dancer threatened to sue.
Question : Is Dancer entitled to unemployment compensation?
Plant engineer’s verdict: “If he follows through on his decision to sue,” Plant Engineer Robert Engstrom told Southern, “I would question his chances of winning. First, his failure to remind you of your promise, or complain about work assignments he considered detrimental to his health, gave you no chance to correct the situation. On top of that, his knowledge that quitting without notice would provide insufficient time for replacement and create hardship for the company was irresponsible and inconsiderate. An employee can’t blatantly disregard his reasonable and moral obligations any more than an employer can.”