WSR 09-07-025



[ Filed March 9, 2009, 8:42 a.m. , effective March 9, 2009, 8:42 a.m. ]

Effective Date of Rule: Immediately.

Purpose: On June 19, 2008, the supreme court of Washington overturned the court of appeals, holding that the list of good cause reasons for voluntarily leaving work in RCW 50.20.050 (2)(b) is not exclusive. Instead, the department has the authority to consider whether other reasons constitute good cause for leaving work under RCW 50.20.050 (2)(a) for the purpose of eligibility for unemployment benefits. The emergency rule implements the court's decision.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Repealing WAC 192-16-009.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 50.12.010, 50.12.040, 50.20.010.

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.

Reasons for this Finding: The court's ruling was effective immediately. A proposed rule-making notice has been filed with a hearing scheduled for April 7, 2009. The hearing was scheduled as late as possible under the CR-102 filing to permit the legislature to consider amending RCW 50.20.050 as a result of the supreme court decision. Several such bills are currently under consideration. Pending possible action by the legislature, the emergency rule is being extended.

Date Adopted: March 9, 2009.

Paul Trause

Deputy Commissioner

WAC 192-150-170   Meaning of good cause -- RCW 50.20.050(2).   (1) General. RCW 50.20.050(2) provides that you will not be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits when you voluntarily leave work for good cause. The Washington Supreme Court in Spain v. Employment Security Department held that the factors listed in RCW 50.20.050 (2)(b) are not the only circumstances in which an individual has good cause for voluntarily leaving work. While these are considered per se or stand alone good cause reasons, the court held that the department is required under RCW 50.20.050 (2)(a) to consider whether other circumstances constitute good cause for voluntarily leaving work.

(2) Other factors constituting good cause -- RCW 50.20.050 (2)(a). The department may determine that you had good cause to leave work voluntarily for reasons other than those listed in RCW 50.20.050 (2)(b).

(i) For separations under subsection (3) below, all of the following conditions must be met to establish good cause for voluntarily leaving work:

(A) You left work primarily for reasons connected with your employment; and

(B) These work-connected reasons were of such a compelling nature they would have caused a reasonably prudent person to leave work; and

(C) You first exhausted all reasonable alternatives before you quit work, unless you are able to show that pursuing reasonable alternatives would have been futile.

(ii) Substantial involuntary deterioration of the work. As determined by the legislature, RCW 50.20.050 (2)(b), subsections (v) through (x), represent changes to employment that constitute a substantial involuntary deterioration of the work.

(3) Unreasonable hardship. In addition to the good cause reasons listed in RCW 50.20.050 (2)(b), other work-connected circumstances may constitute good cause if you can show that continuing in your employment would work an unreasonable hardship on you. "Unreasonable hardship" means a result not due to your voluntary action that would cause a reasonable person to leave that employment. The circumstances must be based on existing facts, not conjecture, and the reasons for leaving work must be significant.

Examples of work-connected unreasonable hardship circumstances that may constitute good cause include, but are not limited to, those where:

(A) Repeated behavior by your employer or co-worker(s) creates an abusive working environment.

(B) You show that your health or physical condition or the requirements of the job have changed and the work is no longer suitable under RCW 50.20.100 because your health would be adversely affected by continuing in that employment.

(4) Commissioner Approved Training. After you have been approved by the department for Commissioner Approved Training, you may leave a temporary job you have taken during training breaks or terms, or outside scheduled training hours, or pending the start date of training, if you can show that continuing with the work will interfere with your approved training.



     The following section of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed:
WAC 192-16-009 Disqualification for leaving work voluntarily -- Meaning of good cause for claims with an effective date prior to January 4, 2004 -- RCW 50.20.050(1).

Washington State Code Reviser's Office