Officials Warn Not Returning to Work May Suspend Benefits

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said failing to return to work when an employer asks could be seen as voluntarily quiting and Iowans risk losing their unemployment benefits. 

"We do have a provision in our unemployment code that allows an individual to quit a job if they feel that their workplace is unsafe. However, it takes more than a mere assertion by the employee to establish the truth," Townsend said.

Attorneys at Iowa Legal Aid say inquiries about qualifying for unemployment benefits if Iowans quit their jobs due to safety concerns are among their most frequently asked questions. They say workers do have protections if their working conditions are "unsafe," "intolerable" or "detrimental." 

“Unfortunately there is no black or white answer. It all depends on the facts of any particular case," said Alex Kornya, litigation director at Iowa Legal Aid.

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