What to do if refused a 700 mile relocation and I am now being denied unemployment by my former employer?

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What to do if refused a 700 mile relocation and I am now being denied unemployment by my former employer?

I accepted a position that, as part of the employment contract, required relocation. I informed my previous employer that I was pregnant and a month later was asked to relocate over 700 miles away (in less than 2 weeks). I declined the offer due to pregnancy and the distance being improbable at the time (the company now has a policy that relocation is to be up to 250 miles) but still wished to be employed with the company. I received notification that my unemployment benefits are being denied due to the fact that I knew relocation was a requirement. Do I have any recourse in this situation?

Asked on June 25, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can certainly appeal this determination and should do so on the basis of constructive termination, that the relocation was so far you could not take the job and were effectively fired. However, while you would normally have a very good chance with that argument, the fact that you had knowingly accepted a position with relocation greatly weakens your case--you may not be able to say you were effectively fired by being relocated when you went into the job knowing you'd be relocated. To counter that, if possible show that the relocation was much further than had been represented to you; e.g. if you can show correspondence prior to accepting the position which indicated that the relocation would be either within a narrower radius (e.g. around 300 miles), or to a specific city which they ended up not sending you to--or perhaps not until a later date in the future--you can strengthen your case. You want to show that the relocation, as it was made final, was not what you had agreed to.


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