And what sucks.... is this is how the state sees it. You voluntarily gave up your job, not that the company fired you. He won't be eligible for unemployment.
That's not necessarily the case. They still have the option to lay him off or fire him. If it was a decent company, they would lay him off.
Would you still stand by your opinion if WSE's friend had to pay for the move out of pocket? After all, you are making the above presumption here... WSE never stated the full terms that his friend was offered.
So here's a general question. Since layoffs generally occur around the end of the calendar/fiscal year, would you rather be laid off before or after the holidays?
It's not an opinion, but a fact. He was given a choice. And assuming the worst (no relocation assistance) it doesn't change that. It makes it shittier, sure, but the ball is still in his court. Times are hard right now, and people have to be willing to do what is necessary to provide for their family. Keep in mind, that not all companies are automatically evil either. As much as they might wanna care about their employees, the well being of the company as a whole comes first. If they need him somewhere else, based on his qualifications, than that's what it is. They could've just fired/layed him off, if his skills weren't that rare (which obviously they weren't since they had no problem getting rid of him). So, without a special skill set, making him more retain-able, they still offered to keep him before looking for a replacement elsewhere.
As for the second part of your question, I'd rather not get laid off
But frankly, it doesn't matter to me. One way or the other, it's gonna suck. I try to keep enough savings to get my family thru whatever hardship, regardless of the time of year.