Hurtado v. DWS

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Hurtado v. DWS, Case No. 20000857-CA, Filed January 5, 2001 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


Alex L. Hurtado,
Petitioner and Appellant,


Department of Workforce Services,
Workforce Appeals Board;
and Eskay Corporation,
Respondents and Appellees.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20000857-CA

January 5, 2001 2001 UT App 5  -----

Original Proceeding in this Court

Alex L. Hurtado, Salt Lake City, Appellant Pro Se
Lorin R. Blauer, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Greenwood, Davis, and Thorne.


A person is not eligible for unemployment benefits if he leaves "work voluntarily without good cause." Utah Code Ann. § 35A-4-405(1)(a) (Supp. 2000). A separation is considered voluntary if the claimant was the moving party in ending the employment relationship. A voluntary separation includes leaving existing work or failing to return to work after a layoff, suspension, or period of absence. Failing to renew an employment contract may also constitute a voluntary separation. Utah Code Admin. P. R994-405-101 (2000).

Hurtado, not his employer, severed the employment relationship. Hurtado walked off the job on Thursday, March 23, 2000, didn't report to work on Friday, March 24th, and didn't call in. On Sunday, he left a message for his supervisor saying that he would be sick on Monday, March 27, 2000, but then didn't report to work the rest of the week, nor did he call in. On Monday, April 3, 2000, Hurtado returned his laptop and tools. He claims he was fired because his employer did not call him. However, it was not typical for the employer to call employees, such as Hurtado, who were working on an ongoing project. Moreover, the employee handbook states that failure to report to work for two days without explanation results in "self-termination." The events leading to Hurtado terminating employment were precipitated by his unsuccessful attempts to obtain a raise. Thus, the Board and ALJ properly concluded that Hurtado had quit, rather than having been terminated.

To obtain unemployment benefits, Hurtado had to show that he quit for good cause, and that even if he did not quit for good cause, equity and good conscience would support an award of benefits. See Utah Code Admin. P. R994-405-102, -103 (2000). He has failed to do this.

It cannot be said that "an immediate severance of the employment relationship was necessary" or that continuance of employment created a hardship "sufficiently adverse to a reasonable person to outweigh the benefits of remaining employed." Id. R994-405-102 (2000). Hurtado was disappointed that his employer did not respond to his request for a raise as he had hoped and says there were other problems with his employer, but none amount to good cause for quitting his employment.

Hurtado also failed to prove that equity and good conscience require an award of benefits. His failure to report to work for several days was not reasonable or practical, particularly given the company's policy that two no-show days would be considered self-termination. Hurtado's employer said Hurtado was scheduled for an annual review, at which time he could have pursued his request for a raise and discussed other concerns he had. Instead, Hurtado did not report to work.


Pamela T. Greenwood,
Presiding Judge

James Z. Davis, Judge

William A. Thorne, Jr., Judge