Jaime v. Director, Department of Employment Security
704 N.E.2d 721 (Ill. Ct. App. 1998).

Facts:

  • Jaime worked for Miniat for approximately 10 years.
  • In December of ’95, the company moved its place of business about 16 miles away.
  • On February 11, 1996, Jaime applied for unemployment compensation benefits, and two days later she resigned.
  • The person that gave her a ride to work left the company, so Jaime, would could barely speak English, had no way of getting to work.
  • Miniat then filed a protest of Jaime’s claim on February 28, 1996, stating that she was not entitled to benefits because she had left work voluntarily.

History:

  • The claims adjudicator denied her claim.
  • The referee affirmed.
  • The Board of Review also affirmed.
  • The trial court reversed.

Issue:
Whether Jaime’s inability to maintain her employment after her employer relocated constitutes “good cause attributable to her employer.”

Holding:
Yes. Affirmed.

Reasoning:

  • ‘Good cause’ connotes a reason for rejecting work that would be deemed by reasonable men and women as valid and not indicative of an unwillingness to work.
  • A cause ‘attributable to the employer’ is one which is produced, caused, created or is the result of actions by the employer and also includes inaction by the employer.
  • Note: The burden is on the employee (despite the fact that it doesn’t seem like it in this case).
  • Here, the court held that Miniat’s moving of its plant from the south side of Chicago to South Holland, a distance of about 16 miles, constituted good cause attributable to the employer with regard to Jaime’s leaving her job.
    • Public transportation would apparently create an undue burden on Jaime.

Rule: In order to voluntarily leave employment and still remain eligible for unemployment compensation, an employee must establish “good cause attributable to the employer.”