The provisions dealing with failure to apply for or accept work are located at Section 8-1005 of
the Labor and Employment Article of the Maryland Annotated Code
Section 8-1005(a)(1) provides that a claimant may be disqualified from receiving
benefits if the claimant, without good cause, has failed
to: (1) apply for available, suitable work when directed
to do so; (2) accept suitable work when offered; or (3)
return to usual self-employment when directed to do so.
The maximum penalty for refusing suitable work is that
benefits will be denied until the claimant is reemployed
and earns at least ten times his weekly benefit amount
in covered employment. If there are mitigating circumstances
involved in the claimant's refusal of suitable work, the
claimant could receive a lesser penalty which consists
of a five to ten week denial of benefits.
If a claimant receiving unemployment insurance benefits fails to accept
an offer of work, the first issue is whether or not the
employer made a bona fide offer of work. Generally, the
Board has applied a job refusal disqualification under
Section 8-1005 only to actual job offers of specific jobs
with stated salaries, duties and starting dates. However,
where the employer wrote a letter to each striking employee
requesting that the employee return to work, the Board
held that the employer made a bona fide job offer despite
the fact that the letter did not mention any specific
duties, salaries or working conditions. The Board reasoned
that the striking employees in that case were well aware
of the salaries and duties of the jobs offered and the
fact that the work started immediately. The Board held
that the work was suitable and disqualified the claimants
who refused the offer from receiving benefits. The Circuit
Court and Court of Special Appeals affirmed the Board.
Adams v. Cambridge Wire Cloth Company, 68 Md.
App. 666, 515 A.2d 492 (1986), cert. denied, Adams
v. Cambridge Wire Cloth Company, 308 Md. 382, 519 A.2d 1283 (1987).
If the employer makes a bona fide offer of work, the next issue is whether
or not the work is suitable. Section 8-1005 requires that
the following factors be considered in determining whether
or not work offered is suitable:
the degree of risk involved to the health, morals and safety
of the individual;
||the experience, previous earnings, previous training and physical
fitness of the individual;
||the length of unemployment of the individual and the prospects
for securing local work in the individual's usual occupation; and
||the distance of available work from the individual's residence.
Section 8-1005(b)(2) provides that work is not considered
||the position offered is vacant as a direct result of a strike,
lockout or other labor dispute;
||the hours, wages or other conditions of work offered are
substantially less favorable to the individual than those
prevailing for similar work in the locality; or
||as a condition of being employed, the individual would be
required to join a company union or resign from or refrain
from joining any bona fide labor organization.
The Court of Appeals has held that the determination of suitable
work is a matter within the expertise of the administrative
agency and is rarely subject to reversal by a court.
Barley v. Maryland Department of Employment Security,
242 Md. 102, 218 A.2d 24 (1966).
Even if a job is determined to be suitable, the claimant may have
"good cause" for refusing to apply for or accept it. The
Board has held that a claimant who refused temporary work
in order to interview for permanent work had good cause
for the refusal. Also, the Board has held that when a
claimant was given only two hours' notice of temporary
work, the claimant's refusal was for good cause.
A claimant's refusal of suitable work may not be for good cause, but
there may be mitigating factors which warrant a reduced
penalty. For example, when a claimant refused an offer
of otherwise suitable work that was temporary and for
one-third fewer hours than the claimant's previous employment,
the Board held that a minimum disqualification was appropriate.
Likewise, where the claimant had been unemployed a short
time and refused suitable work that paid $1.56 per hour
less than his previous work, the Board held that a minimum
penalty was appropriate.
In order to have a claimant be disqualified under Section 8-1005,
the employer must report the claimant's refusal of available,
suitable work. COMAR 09.32.01.15-1 states that if an employer
offers employment to an unemployed individual and the
individual refuses the offer, the employer shall notify
the Secretary in writing within 15 days after the refusal
in order for the refusal to be considered in determining
whether the individual is disqualified from receiving benefits.
Failure to Apply for or Accept Suitable Work - Section
I. In General
A. Applicability of Section 8-1005
Where the claimant was hired, but where he informed the
employer, prior to the first day of work, that he was not
going to take the job, the claimant's actions constituted
a refusal of work under Section 8-1005 and not a voluntary
quit under Section 8-1001. Spiker v. Dry Wood, 871-BR-85.
The claimant's disqualification for failing to accept suitable work was
incorrect where the claimant was not in claim status at
the time of his separation from the employer. The issue
of the claimant's leaving employment is more appropriately
decided under Sections 8-1001, 8-1002 or 8-1003. The claimant
did not fail to accept suitable work within the meaning
of Section 8-1005. Burker v. Turner's Taxi, Inc., 354-BR-89.
B. Scope of Section 8-1005 Penalty
The penalty to be imposed for refusing to accept suitable
work under Section 8-1005 may be activated whether the
work is offered to the claimant by the agency itself or
by a private employer. Adams, et al. v. Cambridge
Wire Cloth Company, 264-BR-82.
However, the disqualification for refusing to apply for suitable
work may only be activated by an agency referral to apply
for suitable work. Toms v. Plantronics, 631-BR-84.
C. Relation to Section 8-1001 Penalty for the Same Conduct
The claimant was found to have quit for valid circumstances
and received a five week penalty. A few weeks later, the
employer offered the claimant his job back, but the claimant
refused for the same reason he originally quit. The penalty
imposed on the claimant for leaving a job cannot be added
to or lengthened by referring the claimant once again
to the same job. The claimant's reasons for refusing the
job are the same reasons that he quit. To penalize him
again is inappropriate. The job offer was not suitable.
Butts v. Frederick Foundry and Machine, Inc., 23-BR-91.
II. Offer of Work
A. In General
The employer and claimant had a vague conversation concerning
the claimant coming back to work for the employer. It was
decided that this discussion would be continued the following
week, but it was not continued by either party. The claimant
did not refuse suitable work within the meaning of Section
8-1005. Section 8-1005 refers to only bona fide and definite
offers of employment. Normally, such an offer includes at
least a definite salary or other method of payment and a
definite starting date. Neither was present in this case.
Since there was no offer of a specific job, the claimant
cannot be disqualified under Section 8-1005. Hiken v.
Milton Samuelson, 889-BR-87.
B. Former Work
The claimant refused the offer of her exact former position
on the grounds that she was unwilling to enter into child
care arrangements. The claimant's former job is clearly
suitable under Section 8-1005, and her refusal was without
good cause. Ervin v. Government Services Savings and
The claimant quit her job because it required working in constant cold
temperatures and because she had accepted other employment.
When the new job fell through, the claimant refused an
offer to return to her former job because of the cold
conditions. The claimant refused suitable work without
good cause; but the cold temperature and the short length
of unemployment (one month) justify imposing less than
the maximum penalty. Ruby v. Hearn and Kirkwood, 70-BR-86.
The claimant declined to be rehired when the employer offered him four
more weeks of work. He declined because of dissatisfaction
with certain work conditions which he perceived as discriminatory
and also due to excessive physical handling of him by
his supervisor. The claimant refused an offer of suitable
work, but for good cause, within the meaning of Section
8-1005. Violet v. Department of Natural Resources,
C. Temporary Work
The claimant had prior experience working for the same
employer as a temporary warehouseman at $4.00 per hour.
While on layoff, the claimant was offered a long-term
temporary assignment at $4.25 per hour. The claimant refused
the job because he was expecting to return sometime soon
to an unspecified full-time job. The hope of a recall
to a full-time job at an indefinite time is not good cause
for the refusal of suitable work, where the work, though
temporary, was long-term and paid slightly higher than
the claimant's last experience at this type of work. The
claimant had done this type of temporary work before,
and he did not provide any evidence that it was unsuitable.
Braxton v. B.S.I. Temporaries, Inc., 771-BH-86.
D. Offer Withdrawn
The claimant was offered a job, but wanted to wait one
day to see if another offer would be made by another employer.
The original offer of employment was withdrawn before
the claimant had an opportunity to accept. The claimant's
actions in waiting were reasonable and the claimant did
not refuse an offer of suitable work. Weeks v. Allen
E. Offer Never Made
On January 6, 1991, the employer laid off the claimant
but it was anticipated that the claimant would be back
to work within three or four weeks. On January 9, 1991,
the employer decided to recall some of its employees,
including the claimant. Although the employer had the
claimant's phone number, there was no further contact
between the employer and the claimant and the employer
never actually recalled the claimant to work. Since the
employer never contacted the claimant with this offer,
the claimant cannot be considered to have refused work.
Penson v. Southern Galvanizing Company, 598-BR-91.
The claimant had been employed for two years as a truck driver and
a truck foreman. He was laid off October 18, 1990. On
December 27, 1990, he received a mailgram at 2:30 p.m.
telling him to work that day. The claimant immediately
called the foreman, but the foreman told him that no work
was available. No prior or subsequent offers of work were
made to the claimant. Since the claimant was not offered
work of any kind, no penalty may be imposed upon him under
Section 8-1005. Small v. Mel McLaughlin Corporation, 1212-BH-91.
III. Determination of Suitability
A. In General
Where available employment is in the claimant's field and
the claimant is generally qualified for it, the burden shifts
to the claimant to show that the job is not suitable. Failing
such proof, the job is considered suitable and the claimant's
failure to apply is without good cause. Rose v. Garland
Trucking Company, 11-BH-85.
The claimant was performing her job to the best of her ability when
she was discharged. Several weeks later, the employer
wrote the claimant a letter offering her job back on the
condition that her attitude would change. The claimant
did not respond to this letter. The claimant was not offered
suitable work under Section 8-1005. The offer of work
was conditioned upon the claimant changing her attitude.
Given the findings that the claimant's attitude was satisfactory
at all times, this was not an offer of suitable work.
Crist v. Contemporary Accounting Service Company, 996-BH-88.
B. Demands of Job
The claimant's refusal to return to a construction job
because of his documented medical condition is not disqualifying
under Section 8-1005 since the work was not suitable when
considering "the degree of risk involved to his health...and
his physical fitness." Trey v. Ansetta Associates,
C. Distance and Transportation
The job offered the claimant was not suitable because
it was located ten miles from the claimant's home and
he lacked both private and public transportation. The
evidence showed that the claimant could have taken a bus
to within two miles of the job site, but then the claimant
would have to walk the remaining two miles over mountainous
terrain. Anderson, 589-BR-83.
A temporary job located 50 miles from the claimant's residence was
found not suitable. Kropkowski v. Kennedy Temporaries, 357-BR-85.
The claimant worked part-time (27 hours per week) in the employer's
laundry establishment, however, the laundry establishment
closed. The claimant applied for unemployment insurance
benefits. After that, the employer offered the claimant
part-time work at another location. The pay rate was the
same, but the offer was for only six hours of work, one
day per week. The claimant refused because she believed
it would not be worth her while to travel on a bus, paying
extra zone fares, to obtain six hours of work per week.
The job was not suitable work under Section 8-1005.
Pryor v. Samuel A. Kurland, 593-BH-91.
D. Labor Disputes
Where an employer offers positions which are vacant due
directly to a labor dispute, the offers of "new work"
are not suitable under Section 8-1005 and no disqualification
shall be imposed. Clugston, et al. v. R.M.R. Corporation, 437-BH-84.
The claimant refused a job assignment because he was a member of the
sprinkler fitters union and his union was picketing the
new job site to protest the city's hiring of nonunion
contractors. The position offered to the claimant was
not vacant due to a labor dispute, but rather was available
through the ordinary course of business. Therefore, the
job offer was suitable, and the claimant's failure to
accept it supports a disqualification under Section 8-1005.
Coward v. Randolph Phipps Construction Company, Inc., 453-BH-84.
E. Rate of Pay
Employment is not suitable where the wage offered is below
the minimum wage. Taylor v. Speedway Launderette, 563-BH-84.
The claimant was a carpenter who earned in excess of $12.00 per hour
at the time of his separation from his job. Approximately
three weeks later, the claimant, on his own initiative,
inquired about a job in a lower classification which paid
almost half of his annual salary. The claimant was offered
this job, but he refused. Considering the relatively short
time of unemployment, the significantly lower salary,
the lower job classification and the fact that the claimant
had good job prospects at his former salary level, the
job referral was not suitable pursuant to Section 8-1005.
The suitability of offered employment depends in part upon whether the
salary offered corresponds to the value of a claimant's
skills in the labor market. The claimant provided the
best evidence possible that the salary was insufficient
by showing that he immediately obtained another job paying
a higher salary. The extremely short-term nature of the
job offered, combined with the claimant's reasonable expectation
of obtaining other, more stable temporary assignments
establishes that the claimant's refusal is not disqualifying.
Gerberg v. Network Recruiters, Inc., 1535-BR-92.
F. Hearing Examiner's Authority to Determine
The hearing examiner misapplied the Barley case by reading
into it a conclusion that the hearing examiner could not
independently review a decision of the job service that
a job is suitable. The hearing examiner does have the
authority and responsibility to decide the issue of suitability
within the meaning of Section 8-1005. Zebron, 49-BR-89.
G. Part-Time, Stopgap Job
A part-time, temporary assignment was not suitable work.
The fact that a claimant performs some employment paying
well below his regular employment as an extra job while
fully employed, does not make that type of work automatically
suitable as a reasonable job choice once the claimant
has lost his full-time job. Green v. CES Security,
IV. Determination of Good Cause for
A. Temporary Employment
Where the claimant refused temporary work in order to interview
for permanent work, good cause is supported and no penalty
shall be imposed under Section 8-1005. Gallagher v.
Goodfriend Temporaries, 1774-BR-82.
Where a claimant is only given two hours' notice of available, temporary
work, the claimant's refusal to accept same is for good
cause. Gallagher v. Goodfriend Temporaries, 1774-BR-82.
The claimant's insistence on being allowed to make her appointments for
interviews for permanent, full-time work rather than accept
temporary work out of her field, at significantly lower
pay, is a reasonable decision, calculated to remove herself
from the unemployment rolls in a permanent manner. The
claimant had good cause for refusing work within the meaning
of Section 8-1005. Eyre v. Manpower, Inc., 27-BH-88.
The claimant's refusal of a three-day temporary job assignment
because her husband was sick was for good cause under
Section 8-1005. Best v. Kelly Girl Temporary Services, 550-BR-84.
V. Mitigating Factors
A. Seasonal or Temporary Work
The claimant reasonably believed that the employer offered
her work on Saturdays and Sundays for six hours each day,
but only through the holiday season. The job offer was suitable
and the claimant's refusal was without good cause, since
the claimant's prior work for this employer was also part-time
(18 hours per week). However, since the job was for one-third
fewer hours per week and its duration beyond the holiday
season was uncertain, a minimum disqualification is appropriate.
Berg v. Lee's Boutique, 141-BR-89.
The claimant worked for a temporary agency. He refused an assignment
because of his dissatisfaction with the short-term nature
of the assignments previously given him. These assignments
ranged from six hours to 14 weeks. Since a person is not
considered employed with a temporary agency simply because
his name is registered with them, the claimant was not
employed and therefore cannot be considered to have quit
when he refused the assignment. Since he did not quit,
his refusal of the assignment is considered a refusal
under Section 8-1005. The claimant's dissatisfaction with
the short-term nature of the assignments does not amount
to good cause, but is a sufficient factor to justify a
minimum penalty. Abate v. Russoli Temps, 659-BR-90.
B. Rate of Pay
The claimant had worked as a chief stationary engineer
earning $11.50 per hour. After he became unemployed, he
was offered a job as a stationary engineer which paid
$9.94 per hour. This job was very similar to his previous
job except that it paid $1.56 less per hour and presumably
entailed little or no supervisory responsibility. The
claimant refused the job offer. The job offered was suitable
employment. However, since it did pay $1.56 less per hour
than the claimant's prior job, and the claimant had only
been unemployed a short time when it was offered, a minimum
penalty is appropriate. Berggren v. Memorial Hospital
at Eastern Maryland, Inc., 758-BR-89.
The claimant made an effort to keep her appointment with
the prospective employer, but was hindered due to car
problems. However, she failed to take reasonable steps
to follow up and contact the employer later. The claimant
failed to show good cause for failing to apply for suitable
work, but a reduced penalty is appropriate. Shafer, 916-BR-87.
The claimant was offered suitable work, but he refused it because his
driver's license had been suspended. Without a license,
he was unable to get to work. The claimant still owed
a substantial sum of money to the state and his license
would not be reinstated until he paid the full amount.
The claimant refused suitable work without good cause,
however mitigating circumstances warranted a reduced penalty.
Cooper v. Robert E. Bittinger, 1482-BR-91.
VI. Failure to Apply for Work
A. Applying Later Than Directed
The claimant was first notified of a job possibility on
September 7, 1988. He delayed in calling about the job until
after September 29, 1988, resulting in his failure to apply
formally until October 4, 1988. The job had never actually
been offered to the claimant. The claimant failed to apply
for suitable work when directed to do so by the Secretary.
The total facts of this case justify a five week penalty.
B. Missing Pre-Employment Test
The claimant failed to report to the local unemployment
office to take a test. The test was being given on behalf
of a potential employer who wanted applicants screened
as to verbal and math abilities before hiring. It would
not be clear whether the work was either available or
suitable until after the test was taken. The claimant
thus cannot be disqualified under Section 8-1005 for failure
to apply for available, suitable work. The claimant, however,
should be disqualified for failure to report to the local
office when directed, under Section 8-902(a)(2). Weber,