Unemployment Law – quitting due to harassment

Posted by: Jul 14, 2016By Brian Stutheit

The unemployment benefits statute says an individual who quits employment because of personal harassment by the employer not related to the performance of the job shall be given a full award of benefits.  The division of unemployment may consider other pertinent factors, also.
Colorado Division of Employment and Training v. Hewlett, 777 P.2d 704 (Colo. 1989)
Sexual harassment may be “personal harassment by the employer not related to the performance of the job,” as provided in § 8-73-108(4)(o) to warrant an award of benefits.
Marlin Oil Co. v. Industrial Commission, 641 P.2d 312 (Colo. App. 1982).
Harassment does not have to be continuous and substantial; all that is required is that the claimant was harassed and the harassment was not related to the performance of the job.
Survey Solutions, Inc. v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office, 956 P.2d 1275 (Colo. App. 1998)
“Personal harassment” is to be determined using an objective standard, and the issue is whether the conduct was so troubling, vexing, and annoying as to cause a reasonable person to resign.

Comment:  If an employee is considered to have been too sensitive, he or she can be denied benefits under this ” what would a reasonable person have done” test.

ADVICE:  If the employer has a process for an employee to complain of harassment, it is almost always best to follow the process before resigning.  Otherwise, it may be argued that is was not reasonable under the circumstances to resign.  There are of course exceptions, such as when the employee feels his or her safety is in danger.  It is always best to paper your file by giving the employer a written statement why you are resigning.  Even an email is better than nothing.