Unemployment Compensation- What Is A Necessitous and Compelling Cause?

Date: July 26, 2011
Posted In: DLP Law

           Paul lived in Alabama but was hired to come to Pennsylvania to work for one of the natural gas companies. Paul left behind his wife and three children. Despite the fact that Paul was able to return to the family for visits every several months, Paul\’s eleven year old son began to develop extreme emotional and behavioral problems. The family physician strongly encouraged Paul to return to the home on a permanent basis or risk further deterioration of his son\’s health.

            Paul applied for unemployment compensation and his employer decided to deny the same.

ISSUE:          Will Paul be entitled to receive unemployment compensation?

ANSWER:     Paul will have to show an necessitous and compelling cause that his absence in the home (1) produced real and substantial pressure to terminate the employment; (2) would compel a reasonable person to act in the same manner; (3) acted with ordinary common sense; and (4) made a reasonable effort to preserve his employment.

            Paul may be entitled to unemployment compensation if it is found that he left his employment because he was compelled to do so for family obligations. The health of a family member is the type of obligation that may constitute  a necessitous and compelling cause.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.