My company asked me to move to another office. I can not. Should I get servence and unemployment?

April 2011 - My company (located in Berkeley, CA) was acquired. I had worked there for 8 years.

June 2011 - the new owners (located in Southern CA) laid off 1/3 of the company with severance. They paid 1 week for each year of employment with a cap of 13 weeks. The new owners merged us with another company they purchased (located in Pleasanton, CA).

October 2011 - they required me to move to the Pleasanton, CA office. This changed my commute from 15 miles to 41 miles each way.

They knew this was a hardship based on time and cost of the longer commute and the fact that I have a young child under two and would have to find and pay more for child care.

They refused to see this a layoff so I felt forced to quit. They did not pay severance.

I see they have posted a position on craigslist for my replacement but it is a jr. position to my sr. position title.

1. Was is legal for them to say this wasn't a layoff?
2. Do I have any right to severance? I did not have a employee contract or anything signed saying I would get severance. They are continuing to lay off other employees (without the offer to move the other office) and giving them severance.
3. I am applying for Unemployment Benefits based on the commute distance and cost. Is that a "good cause" to quit and still get unemployment benefits?
4. Thanks for reading and responding and if you had any other advice that I didn't know to ask specifically about, I'd love to hear it.

1 answer  |  asked Oct 22, 2011 3:56 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Arkady Itkin

* Unless provided so in the contract, there is no right to severance and it's almost always a gratuity.

* Resigning disqualifies claimant from benefits unless there is good cause for resigning. I am not sure if a 40 mile distance is a good cause, especially during these tough economic times. If you are denied benefits and you appeal the denial (which is a fairly simple process), you should come up with some specific facts as to why a seemingly reasonable commute of 40 miles was such a major hardship on you or your family.


Arkady Itkin
San Francisco Employment Lawyer

posted by Arkady Itkin  |  Oct 22, 2011 4:03 PM [EST]

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