Jack Strauss

Eliza's job was neither a trade nor a profession. It was more like a calling. She spent a good part of her working hours every day on the phone placing calls for several company executives. When the top honcho at the company directed her to tape record all of their calls, however -- without their knowledge or consent -- Eliza decided that was an immoral thing to ask her to do and she quit her job.

While looking for a new job, Eliza applied for unemployment benefits and was turned down cold.

"A person just can't quit a job for no good reason and expect to collect unemployment benefits," she was told. "If she does, she's got her two feet firmly planted in the clouds."

"But I had good reason," insisted Eliza. "When I was told to secretly record telephone calls made and received by executives -- without their knowledge and consent -- I was asked to do something I considered to be morally wrong ... and I'm a good girl, I am."

To prove her point, Eliza demanded her unemployment benefits in court.

If you were the judge, would you order the former moral secretary be paid unemployment benefits?

This is how the judge ruled: Yes! The judge held that an individual cannot be denied unemployment benefits for quitting a job for a compelling reason. And, concluded the judge, Peggy's reason for quitting her job was morally compelling.

-- based upon a 1973 Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decision

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