Boucher v. Maine Employment Security Commission – Case Brief Summary (Maine)

In Boucher v. Maine Employment Security Commission, 464 A.2d 171 (Me. 1983), a laid-off worker was brought back to work at substantially reduced pay, despite there being in place a procedure of process of recalls designed to minimize such reductions.

The employee was working as a leather cutter in a shoe factory, earning approximately $ 10 per hour based upon an hourly wage and incentives for piecework. He was laid off and then recalled whereupon he was assigned to the job of "last pulling" which paid only the minimum wage of $ 3.35 per hour. He immediately complained to his foreman, then to the personnel manager, and filed four written complaints. When these efforts were unsuccessful, he quit his job.

The Law Court concluded in Boucher that a significant reduction in the employee's compensation fell within the ambit of good cause under section 1193 of Title 26 so that he should have been afforded unemployment benefits.

The Supreme Judicial Court held that although wage dissatisfaction would generally not be "good cause," the claimant had a reasonable belief that when recalled he would have his former job or a comparable one.

The court also indicated, "Under the weight of authority, a substantial reduction in pay constitutes 'good cause.'" Id. at 176.