Gardner v. Hercules, Inc. and Standard Industrial Maintenance, Inc.

A majority of the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that there was enough evidence in the record to support a lower court’s determination that the plaintiff did not qualify for unemployment benefits because she voluntarily resigned from her position without good cause.  On her first day of work cleaning restrooms, cafeteria and administrative offices, she noticed smoke, told her supervisor that it bothered her and said she wasn’t sure she’d be able to handle it.  The supervisor said that there was no part of the building where she would not be exposed to smoke.  She continued to work for three days and then quit; she did not request a transfer.  The majority ruled that she did not make reasonable efforts to resolve the dispute before leaving.  The dissent stated that the evidence proved that Gardner did have good cause to leave her employment: The evidence “proved that Gardner suffered ill effects from cigarette smoke and that she informed her supervisor of her problem when she was hired.”

1996 Va. App. LEXIS 22, No. 2240-94-3, Va. Ct. of App., (1996).