S. G. v Canada Employment Insurance Commission

Institution:
Social Security Tribunal decision - General Division - Employment Insurance Section
Member:
Heather Hamilton
Hearing date:
March 4, 2020
Hearing type:
Teleconference
Between:
S. G. and Canada Employment Insurance Commission
Decision:
Appeal dismissed
Decision date:
March 4, 2020
Reference number:
GE-20-517
Citation:
S. G. v Canada Employment Insurance Commission, 2020 SST  SST 303

Other decision(s) related to this appeal:

Decision

[1] The appeal is dismissed. I find the Claimant has not proven just cause to leave his employment as he had reasonable alternatives to leaving. The Claimant is disqualified from receiving benefits. These are my written reasons why.

Overview

[2] The Claimant completed his level one and level two plumber/gas fitter apprenticeship while working for employers that were in the trade. He then tried to get work with an employer in the plumbing industry again but was unsuccessful. The Claimant worked full time for over a year for an employer that was involved in transporting crude oil; but the employer was not a sponsor of this trade. He delayed continuing his apprenticeship for personal reasons and received an extension of time to continue his apprenticeship. The Alberta Apprenticeship and Training Industry(AIT) informed the Claimant that he needed to progress with his apprenticeship training as it had been almost three years since he attended training. If not, he risks being cancelled, and may not legally be able to continue working in their trade. The employer did not give him permission to take leave for his apprenticeship. The Claimant argues he was counselled to quit by AIT, and was pressured into quitting by his employer because he was not given a leave of absence.

[3] I must decide whether the Claimant has proven that he had no reasonable alternatives for leaving his job. The Commission says that the Claimant chose to leave his employment to attend a course of instruction on his own initiative. He made a personal choice to quit his employment in order to pursue his apprenticeship training. The Claimant did not have counsel to quit from the Commission, or designated authority prior to quitting, nor was he referred to the course by the Commission or designated authority. A reasonable alternative was to remain employed or request a leave of absence.

Issues

[4] Did the Claimant voluntarily leave his employment?

[5] Did he have just cause?

Analysis

Did the Claimant voluntarily leave his employment?

[6] I find the Claimant voluntarily left his employment.

[7] When determining whether the Claimant voluntarily left his employment, I must determine whether he had a choice to stay in the job at the time.Footnote 1 If you had a choice, and you choose to leave the job, then you have quit your job. The Employment Insurance Act calls this “voluntarily leaving.” Footnote 2 I find the Claimant had a choice to stay or leave and he chose to leave to take his apprenticeship training.

[8] The employer noted on the record of employment that the Claimant quit to return to school.Footnote 3 The Claimant agreed he left his employment as he initiated the separation from his employment. There is no evidence of dismissal. The Claimant agreed he was not dismissed.

[9] The parties dispute that the Claimant had just cause for voluntarily leaving

[10] The parties do not agree that the Claimant had just cause for voluntarily leaving his job when he did.

[11] The law says that you are disqualified from receiving benefits if you left your job voluntarily and you did not have just cause.Footnote 4 Having a good reason for leaving a job is not enough to prove just cause.

[12] The law says that you have just cause to leave if, considering all of the circumstances, you had no reasonable alternatives to quitting your job when you did.Footnote 5 It is up to the Claimant to prove this.Footnote 6 The Claimant has to show that it is more likely than not that he had no reasonable alternatives but to leave when he did. When I decide this question, I have to look at all of the circumstances that existed at the time that the Claimant quit.

[13] The Claimant says that one circumstance set out in the law applies, specifically he was pressured to leave his employment.

Undue pressure by an employer to leave their employmentFootnote 7

[14] I do not find the Claimant was pressured to leave his employment.

[15] The Claimant feels that because the employer would not give him a leave of absence to take his apprenticeship training that they forced him to quit. The employer did not present any reasonable alternative to leaving. He asked them to lay him off but the employer denied. The employer did not support him through this process so they put undue pressure on him.

[16] I find the Claimant accepted work with this employer knowing that the employer could not provide him with work experience as a plumber/gas fitter as this was not their business. His employer had no obligation to provide him with a leave of absence to complete his apprenticeship training when he would not be returning to this employer after his apprenticeship training finished.

Was he referred by a designated authority to quit his employment?

[17] The Claimant also argues he was told by the Alberta Apprenticeship and Training Industry(AIT) to quit his employment.

[18] I find the evidence does not support that the Claimant was advised to quit his employment by AIT. AIT provided a letter at the Claimant’s request.Footnote 8 The letter tells me that the Claimant had not attended any technical training for almost 3 years. He had fallen behind with his technical training, he understood the importance of progressing, and he chose to register and attend his training. This tells me that the Claimant made a choice to return to his apprenticeship training to complete it in a timely manner, or he might not be able to continue in his trade. The letter does not tell me that AIT advised him to quit his employment.

[19] The Claimant registered in the apprenticeship training but he did not have counsel to quit from the Commission, or designated authority such as Alberta Works, prior to quitting, nor was he referred to the course by the Commission or designated authority.  

The Claimant had reasonable alternatives

[20] I must look at whether the Claimant had reasonable alternatives to leaving his job when he did. The Claimant says he did not have any, because of counsel to quit and undue pressure from his employer.

[21] I acknowledge that the Claimant asked his employer for a leave of absence and the request was denied. The Commission says he had the reasonable option of remaining employed. I realize the Claimant wanted to complete his third and fourth year apprenticeship training so he could work as a plumber/gas fitter.

[22] A reasonable alternative to leaving would be to continue working; to discuss is desire to return to training and ask if there was going to be a lay off in the near future, or have authorization to quit by the Commission or Alberta Works.

[23] I accept that the Claimant was given short notice to decide if he was going to take the training as he might lose his ability to continue in his trade; however, he made the choice to leave his employment and this caused the loss of his own employment.

[24] I find the Claimant made a personal choice to leave his employment when he did and although it may have been a good personal choice for the Claimant to complete his training in his trade, it does not meet the standard of “just cause” required to allow employment insurance benefits to be paid.

[25] When considering all of the circumstances together, the Claimant had reasonable alternatives to leaving, and on the balance of probabilities, he has not met the test for voluntarily leaving with just cause. A disqualification is imposed as of October 27, 2019 because the Claimant voluntarily left his employment with X without just cause.Footnote 9

Conclusion

[26] The appeal is dismissed.

 

Heard on:

March 4, 2020

Method of proceeding:

Teleconference

Appearances:

S. G., Appellant

Date modified: