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25. Was There A Reasonable Concern Regarding Health or Safety?

ALERT:   IN LIGHT OF THE COVID-19 EMERGENCY, ASPECTS OF THE UI PROCESS HAVE BEEN MODIFIED.  VISIT https://www.masslegalservices.org/covid-19-and-ui FOR CURRENT INFORMATION.

A claimant who leaves work due to reasonable concerns regarding unsafe working conditions or inadequate lighting, heat, ventilation, or sanitation can have good cause for quitting. AH c. 7, § 3B.4. For example, a claimant leaves work for good cause when working conditions result in exposure to a risk of injury or danger to health beyond the normal hazards of the job. However, the claimant should attempt to resolve the hazardous condition or faulty equipment by making a complaint to the employer prior to leaving work. Id. Where the employer does not permit an employee to do so, the claimant has good cause to resign. BR-110509 (9/28/10).

In a District Court decision, the Court reversed the denial of UI, stating that where an employer’s smoking policy at the nursing home where the claimant worked as a nurse’s aide subjected her to unwanted second-hand smoke, this exposure constituted good cause for her leaving attributable to the employer. Perez v. Cicatiello, Boston Municipal Court, CA 2009-01-CV-4076 (Forde, J.) (6/14/11).

The Board of Review held that preliminary OSHA determinations of safety deficiencies in the workplace were sufficient to support the reasonableness of a claimant’s belief that she was working in unsafe conditions and therefore constituted good cause attributable to the employer. BR-119197 (2/23/12) (Key).