Laid Off? You May Have to Fight for Unemployment Benefits

By Andrea Karim on 13 March 2009 78 comments

If you've recently been laid off, you may have to fight for your right to collect unemployment from the government.

You probably know that if you are fired, you can't collect unemployment from the government. Although qualifications can vary from state to state, generally, only people who are laid off from their jobs will qualify for unemployment benefits. But did you know that, even if you are laid off, your employer can challenge your right to receive benefits?

Sneaky employers have always done this. It's not obvious at first why any business would want to prevent an employee caught up in massive job lay-offs from feeding their families until they find another job. After all, the money is coming from the government, right? (See also: Help! I Lost My Job!)

Well, yes and no. The money that is used to pay unemployment benefits comes from unemployment insurance fees that employers pay into (similar to other government taxes). Whenever an employer lays off a bunch of workers, and these workers file for unemployment benefits with the government, the employer's unemployment insurance rates go up. It's still cheaper than paying the actual salaries of the laid off employees, but many employers who are trying to cut costs are willing to do anything to prevent rising insurance rates of any kind.

The way to do this is to challenge the laid-off workers' rights to collect benefits by claiming that the employee was fired for poor performance, rather than laid off due to the company's financial difficulties. If a worker is let go for performance-based reasons, the employer doesn't have to pay additional unemployment insurance for them. So, companies are increasingly telling the government that laid-off workers were actually fired for negligence, poor performance, or as a recent laid-off employee from Verizon was accused, "detour and frolic."

The bad news is that employer disputes of unemployment benefits claims are up — the good news is that employers aren't only any more successful in their disputes than normal. They only win roughly 1/3 of their challenges, a figure that has remained consistent since the 1980s.

If your employer challenges your right to unemployment benefits, you will likely have to get involved in some sort of mediation, either in court or through a similar process that involves a small hearing. How this works varies from state to state, but here's a handy map for finding your state agency that deals with unemployment benefits.

You can't do anything to prevent your employer from being a jerk, so if you know you might be caught up in layoffs in the coming months, here is what you can do to prepare for battle:

1. Collect, print, and save all examples of superiors or coworkers praising your work or worth ethic. Emails, written notes, yearly performance reviews, letters of commendation — anything to prove that you were a valuable employee will be helpful in making your case to your state unemployment agency. If you can collect information that proves what your position was within your company, be it an employee contract, formal written job offer, or employee roster with job titles. On a similar note, be aware of any potential rebukes that your employer could mention if they should appeal your unemployment claim.

2. When you are notified of the layoffs, do your best to be gracious. No one likes losing their job, but responding angrily will not help you. It's best to leave without burning any bridges.

3. File for unemployment benefits as soon as you are eligible. If you are quick enough, you might stay ahead of the pack and get approved for benefits before your employer gets their wits about them.

4. When you do get laid off, ask your employer to state the reasons for your dismissal in writing. Some employers only provide a verbal apology and a box to pack your stuff in, but it never hurts to ask for a more formal letter of dismissal.

5. If you are a part of a massive layoff at a large company, the kind of layoffs that warrant articles in the news media, clip and keep articles that mention the layoffs. If you were let go along with a few hundred or thousand other employees, you may have a better chance of proving that your lack of unemployment was not due to any negligence on your behalf, but rather, was a function of a lousy economy.

6. Be honest. Don't lie about your compensation, work history, or position. Any inconsistencies in your application that your employer can dispute will only hurt your case.

7. If you can, ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation either before or immediately after you are let go.

8. Even though it's tiresome to hear, get your resume updated as soon as you can. Be sure to actively seek employment in a broad range of industries. Most unemployment benefits require that you constantly search for a new job. Keep a copy (electronic or printed) of every job application you submit.

9. Remember — unemployment benefits really aren't that great, and will run out fairly quickly. If you CAN find another job with decent pay and benefits, you should consider taking it. After all, finding a new job when you are already employed is easier than finding a new job when you are jobless.

Have you had to fight for your unemployment benefits when your former employer challenged your filing? What did you do to prove your case?

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Guest's picture

It's too bad. I hope I never have too deal with a selfish employer.


Guest's picture

This happened to me.I was a reatail manager for 6 years with 1 company.In that time i missed 1 day.To make a long story short.I could`nt make it in on time 1 day,to open the store.Although there was another employee there to open the store,my supervisor fired me.I believe i was fired because they were haveing money problems & thought it was me.So i applied for unemployment and low and behold....They said i quit!!They stalled and stalled on my money.Until finally i told the so called mediator that i was calling the attorney general if this matter is`nt resolved.They called both sides in to ask questions
and the employer never even showed.So in short there are companies that stall as long as they can because they are hopeing you will find something else,so they won`t have to give you a dime.Good luck.I am sure in the end when the truth comes out you will recieve the money you deserve.

Guest's picture

Need advise my mom lost her job today because they said she wasn't suitable for all the task needed to be completed she was on probation...her boss instead of training her for the clerk job just put her down and told her u don't know how to do it everyone at the school district loved her cause she is bilingual... Her supervisor never gave her any proper traing what do I do I feel like she was discrimating my mother...

Guest's picture

I'm so glad you posted this because this happened recently to us. My husband was laid off in October along with several hundred other employees. Just about 2 weeks ago, we received a letter from the unemployment agency that the company claimed he had quit his job. The government was threatening to charge us with unemployment fraud! We sent back copies of some paperwork we had, though we're still waiting to see how this proceeds. If they do decide against us, we'll not only have to pay back the benefits received, but that amount plus four times that amount!

The government really should have some sort of safeguard against companies doing this to their former employees.

Guest's picture

I posted a story below (as a guest)I had a company do the same thing to me.I waited (what seemed like forever)for my benifits then they paid me a little finally.Then they held it up again.I COULD`NT BELIEVE IT!!!I ended up winning.But just another sad story of the big guy playing the bully!I hope you win.Matter of fact if he was laid off,what they will eventually do is call in both sides and ask questions.If you have any documents or witnesses,i recommend you line all that up now.In my case the company never even showed up to the hearing.Talk about showin an appreciation for an employee that worked on a salery of 40hrs a week and did about 65hrs a week!!

Andrea Karim's picture

Steph, I am so sorry to hear that. I really hope that you are able to prove the former employer wrong - if not, then I hope you will seek a lawyer's advice.

It's amazing how employers, especially large ones, think that they can get away with this kind of behavior. It's not just about the lack of benefits - imagine being fined for something like unemployment fraud! It's unconscionable.

Guest's picture

Ugh. I have had three employers try this over the years. One when one of our kids was seriously ill in the hospital. Copies of the doctors strict instructions that the child was only being released because I could provide the treatment needed at home was all it took to convince the unemployment office that I was in the right.

If you live in a right to work state it frequently comes down to WHY you were fired not if you were fired. Since they can fire you because it is Friday or the wind is blowing they have to prove misconduct, not simply accuse it.

Keeping copies of emails, benefits information and the like at home not in your office is critical since many employers now give people no warning when they let a batch of people go. One place shut off access to the benefits website when they let everyone go so many people could not get the 3rd party company information for things like their 401k.

Guest's picture

Thanks for writing this!

BTW - Steph - your husband may have been covered under the WARN Act. Talk to a labor lawyer - the laid off may be entitled to back pay. (This is what the window factory workers in Chicago got.)

Guest's picture

I had a job in NY 9 years ago with the home office in PA. I went to unemployment in NY and was told they would not pay; I should contact unemployment in PA about benefits. PA said I was under the hours/days required in the part of the year I was laid off and did not pay. I tried again six months later and I got the benefits. Persistence pays - but it was hell in the hallway.

Keep any pay stubs and letters from employers. Always.

Guest's picture

You can also request a copy of your personnel file. This would probably contain title and job description, plus anything they might use against you in a dispute.

Guest's picture

@Jenn - do employees always have access to their personnel file? In other words, could I ask to see mine today (I'm currently employed).

There's actually no problem - I work for a very decent company and am treated well - but I'm mostly just curious.

Guest's picture

I worked in finance for a small company that was about to go under, I didn't get laid off but our employer basically gave us terms that would be impossible to stay on with. He said he didn't want us to take pay for the rest of the year (this was in june) and just work for benefits, he stripped us of many of our responsibilities and basically was destroying whatever was left of the company. He was an absentee owner who spent the last decade on permanent vacation while another senior manager ran and grew the business. The owner came back about a year ago and started making bad business decisions which were destroying the company, so the senior manager left and there was no real leadership left. Many of us ended up leaving, our unemployment was denied because he said we had quit. True, but he wasn't paying us any more anyway. I have requested a hearing and hope it works out. Unemployment isn't much but it will help through this period.

Guest's picture

Also, in response to JD, it's illegal for a company to withhold pay from employees.

I worked for a small start-up some years ago. They were struggling and couldn't make payroll. They asked us to be "patient." One employee took it upon herself to call the state Dept of Labor, which promptly ordered the company to either pay its employees within a specified period of time (i think it was a matter of weeks) or cease doing business.

They ceased doing business.

Guest's picture

Thanks for the article, Andrea.

One little thing though: It is possible to get unemployment if you were fired. All 50 states are "at will" employment states, which means employers have the right to fire you for any reason, except for racial, gender, or age discrimination. You can still get unemployment if you can prove that you were not fired for misfeasance.

This happened to me in Oregon. I was fired, but after I filed for unemployment and began receiving benefits, my former employer appealed, citing things I had never done, like screaming at employees and breaking confidentiality rules. I had saved all my employee evaluations, and sent them to the administrative judge who handled the appeal. During the telephone appeal, I calmly stated the truth, which contradicted the lies being told by my employer.

Employers might use the services of TALX, a company that exists to help employers "manage unemployment costs". My former employer, which was a nonprofit, used this service. The TALX representative actively tried to trip me up during the hearing. If you have to deal with such an individual, be very careful, stay cool, and don't allow them to contradict yourself or to say things you don't mean. If they challenge you, or try to twist what you say, calmly correct them. If you don't understand what they are trying to get you to say, ask them to repeat. If the judge is on top of things, she or he will understand what's going on.

The administrative judge ruled in my favor. From other reading I have done on this subject, I believe that these judges are generally disposed to rule for the employee except in clear cut cases of mis or malfeasance.

Guest's picture

Don't think it is just large corporations or for-profit businesses who do this. My former employer was a small nonprofit with a good reputation. In Oregon, businesses have the option of paying a monthly premium or not to the state employment department, but if they opt out and then if they lay off or fire an employee, they must then reimburse the state for the amount paid out in unemployment benefits. I ended up costing my former employer over $10,000 for six months of benefits (not including what they paid TALX).

Andrea Karim's picture

Thanks, gracie. The feedback and correction is appreciated.

Guest's picture

Great tips! These days you have to watch out for yourself!

My ideas on "bulletproofing" yourself,

Guest's picture

Thanks for posting this, I was denied benefits when my position was eliminated because my employer offered me another position in, another town making it a very long drive and with gas prices at the time of my lay off it would have been very expensive to drive to work. The unemployment office in Nevada says the mileage is out of my local area and is a reason someone could deny a job offer but still denied my benefits. It's frustrating that it's outside the required mileage to drive and they still denied my benefits. I was a little nervous about having to go through an "appeal trial" but this eased my fears a little. My employer is known for denying all unemployment benefits, regardless of the reasons. Hopefully things will go well!!!

Guest's picture

I guess one benefit of having worked (and gotten laid off from) a big company is that you are somewhat less likely to have to go through hassles like this.

I posted this article on the forum at The Free Agents , which is a social network for unemployed people (more casual than something like LinkedIn, and intended to help you meet others and figure out whats next). I'm interested to see what people on that community have to say, and I hope not too many have had to go through this type of garbage.

Guest's picture

I left my job back in October because of a hostile work environment. Most of my upper mgmt. friends told me I would get my unemployment. Well needless to say my final hearing was back in February and I was just notified via email last week that I was denied my unemployment. I learned a very hard lesson that I should have just called the police and had her charged (she physically removed me from a meeting). Most interesting is I called the hearing department last Monday to find out where they were at on the results. The lady on the phone told me there were 300 hearings ahead of me and it would be another four weeks. Well three hours later I went online and there were the results from the hearing...
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm can you say strange?

Guest's picture

This happened to me once, but it was about three years ago, long before this recession.

After losing a full-time job, I found a p/t job doing office work for someone in my town. I worked a fixed number of hours a week, and then i was free to pick up extra cash doing freelance writing in my free time, which paid considerably better than what this guy was paying me.

One day, after working there several months, he told me he needed me to work longer hours. I declined, and he told me not to bother coming back in.

He actually challenged my attempt to get unemployment benefits, saying I wasn't "fired," but that i left voluntarily.

The Dept of Labor sided with me and i got my benefits

Guest's picture

Hi I'm going through something like this were I worked 40 hours a week and they laid off my position and offered me the 7?12 shift which I declined so I filed unemployment and was denied now I'm appealing but I was wondering if you could let me know what you said to win the unemployment? Thanks in advance!

Guest's picture

Early January I was terminated from my position and I immediately filed for unemployment. I was denied but I appealed in writing and just now was notified that I have been approved. My question is do I get the back pay from the first time I had called into Marvin? I faithfully called in every other week at my designated time and reported to work first and have been actively looking for a new job. My estimate would be about 4 checks. Any info would be great

Guest's picture

From an employer's perspective, it really sucks when you let someone know you're going to have to lay them off about a month beforehand (because you've lost clients, and you want to let them know in order to give them time to find another job) and they begin taking advantage of you. Please be courteous and don't do things like undermine the current leadership, bad-mouth the owners to other companies, take advantage of the courtesy extended you by using company time and resources to do things that are a direct conflict of interest...etc, etc.

We didn't win our contest of unemployment benefits even though the person was going to be laid off, but then was fired a week early for all kinds of things that would have gotten them fired in the course of a normal employment situation.

I guess I'm just trying to point out that from the other perspective, sometimes it's justified to contest the benefits, and to encourage those people being laid off to treat their employers with respect too. (Especially for small businesses, laying people off is not an easy decision!)

Guest's picture

Hey there is always an exception to the rule.But there are a lot of companies that pull that junk.I was very bitter when they did it to me because i gave my company plenty of blood ,sweat and tears.I could`nt even tell you how many free hrs they recievd from me.Not to mention i held three store sales records in 3 differant locations.The problem came when the last store i worked,started comen up short.When the paperwork did`nt jive.2 assistants were transferred.And when they thought the time was ideal they fired me,then said i quit.Talk about a bunch of ingreats taking a gamble that i was a thief.AFTER 6 years of no major money problems.I hope they collapse! lol some days your the dog some days your the tree!

Guest's picture

Can someone please provide advise: My mother has been a bookkeeper at the same nonprofit for 28 years. She has a new boss that wants my mom out...she does not know what she is doing, and my mother has been cleaning up her mistakes for months.
My mother finally said something to the director that this woman does not know her job and quickly my mom was written up by teh evil woman or warning. Funny thing is my mom has never had any problems and nothing in her file for 28 years.
Now my mom faces each day of this new boss tryign to find things to fire her about..and actually resorting to lies now. The boss is also havign someone sit in my moms office all day takign notes on what she does all day long. She also asked the IT dept to pritn out all the emails my mom has written...little does she knwo there is nothing to find. The boss is planning on restructing and then allowing her to reapply for a job, that si if she cant find somethign to fire her.
My mom wants to be laid off...collect severance and get the hell out if there...any advise on how she should do this? She was told that if she ever goes to the director again she will be fired. I live 3000 miles and one upset pissed daughter!!!HELP

Andrea Karim's picture

Your mother needs to talk to a lawyer. Because I am not one, I can't offer any legal advice as to what she can do, but what her employers are doing is creating a hostile work environment. Have her consult with a lawyer in her area to see what kind of rights she has under these circumstances.

In any case, she should document EVERYTHING that happens to her. Keep a daily written journal of her situation, so that she can refer back to it later if she should need to take anyone to court.

Guest's picture

My recent employer found that I had reported working through lunch when I was actually taking a lunch. He told me that I was a good employee and he wanted to keep me on so he would arrange for me to make restitution for what I was over paid. I agreed. We had this conversation on Jan 5th - on Jan 7th he changed his mind and fired me anyway. Should I be able to collect unemployment?

Guest's picture

I called in sick legitimately in January for my shift with my former employer. My shift started at 4:00p.m. at 12:00a.m. my friend came over and convinced me that I should go out with him. I went out and had a couple drinks with him. The next day I went into work and everything was fine. Suddenly my boss came up to me and asked me if I went out last night. I Honestly I told him yes because I felt better that night. He then proceeded to tell me that that didn't "sit well with him" and told me to clock out and that I was fired. Of course then I inquired about receiving unemployment. It took six weeks before I was able to talk to someone competent with the UIA to tell me that my employer was stating that I was fired for poor job performance and that I was already suppose to receive a questionnaire for this employer. The UIA person told me to call the UIA number still every two weeks to get my benefits. I did that week and received my benefits finally. After this I finally got the questionnaire and filled it out and sent it back. Now it is March 27th and i receive a re determination stating that I was discharged from my employer for dishonesty and that I falsified the reason for my absence. Therefore, I must pay back the benefits I have been receiving since Feb. 5th! How is this possible? I did not falsify anything with my employer at all what so ever and was completely honest. Now UIA is telling me I should pay all this money back? I live in Michigan and I am still unemployed. Someone help plz.

Guest's picture

Due to downsizing I lost my FT job in December 08 and I had a PT job which I ended up having to quit in February. Found out my PT employer is and has been denying my unemployment benefits since I applied back in December. I've been permently denied benefits and just had my appeal as my FT employer isn't appealing my benefits, it's the PT jerk who is which I nor anyone else can understand how he can do that. Can someone explain this to me???

Guest's picture

my hubby,s employer fired him late january,filed for UE poor job performance. two weeks later the so called impartial ajudicator told my hubby that the employer said he QUIT!!!!!!!!!!! oh my god. this dirt bag employer knows the system.'and so does this adjudicator,he failed to record my husband statement,s of why there was no way he's quit(it's the familys only income and in the economy full of jobloss.) employer turned the burden of proof on my husband.he was fired over the phone he has no documented proof. adjudicator denied the benifits. had a hearing, adjudicators one sided notes were exibits UE gives the ALJ for the hearing.hearing was all he said she was audio taped. employer contradicted himself several times and his tesimony actaully suppored my husbands position of being fired.benifits denied again!the decision read directly the same as the notes the adjudicator wrote for the employer.( serious bias with these state officals) the audio is the proof that not only did the employer lie but the ALJ was bias! she knows the system too. it now goes to a seperate state agency that reviews the decision. it done by a summary of testimony.they compile this summary from the ALJ's notes. (what a joke she was not impartial at all) only on rare occations do they use the audio tapes (actual testimony) . you are allowed to file a written complaint before the review ,that will be the extreme need for the audio tapes to be reviewed. if this state agency is anything like the unemployemnt division. this will probably have to go to civil court. family has enough money for 1 month and there goes everything!!!!!!!!!!this is sickening! hubby and I cannot find a job yet! and he has that dirt bag X-employer to deal with on his job applications( have mercy on us oh lord!) I quess the powers that be in this state don't give a hoot about the honest and innocent!

Guest's picture

I live in Alabama and I recently lost my job due to the economy, I have been there for 4 1/2 years. My boss is a great person and during the time he asked me to find a job to help me out, well I did thru a staffing service, I worked the job about 3-4 weeks and there was some racial statements made and the boss was very unprofessional and I told the staffing service about this and they said they have had the same complaints before, so they told me not to go back. I filed for my unemployemnt and I haven't heard anything yet, does anyone know how long this takes and if I might even qualify?

Guest's picture

Here's my story.
I've had childcare issues and my manager was well aware of it. My hours were from 9-3 and than in the summertime it changed from 8:30 -4:00 i was asked to work late one day out of the week to make up hours.I did a few times but i really couldn't afford to pay a sitter.
That's when they started to pick on everything i did, letting other employess get away with things and when it came to me, i was always getting called into the office.
For example one day i took my half hour lunch and went across tha street i did tell everyone in the office i was going out,but when i came back i was told that i had to clock out and that i needed to go home.
Many times i've seen employees go out and not clock out. Also the supervisor got drunk one sat and went into the office to use the bathroom (because he had parked his car in the parking lot) and trashed the place and he is still working.
I was asked to work this sat and i told them that i couldn't because i had no one to watch my daughter so not a minute later my manager says that sat are mandatory. To me it seems they have been setting things up so that i would quit but i won't and so she tells me that because i am not making my 35 hrs that i have to go part time and lose my benefits.
I've had a serious operation in july to have a huge tumor removed from my abdominal wall and i need to follow up on it.
She told me that if the boss gets rid of me that i might not get unemployment so i said to her are you threatening me now?
And she says that i've been late but the time clock is 6 or 7 mins ahead
People are so evil i don't know what to do. I know that they will try and say that i am not a good worker etc but thats not true.
I truly don't deserve to be treated this way.

Guest's picture

I have a questionable unemployment problem. They company that I have been working for the last 2 years, has been through bankruptcy, closed and bought out by a new company.

Today I received a wavier to sign by the new company saying that in order to accept employment by the new company we have to terminate our rights for any severance pay from the old employmer. We are told if we refuse to sign, we are terminating our employment.

I completely understand the wavier, I am getting it looked into and making sure that I am not loosing any vacation time owed.

I do not agree with some of the new procedures of the new company, as well as I have already ran into a problem with my boss telling me that I have to do manditory training at home on my free time (not paid, I am a student and go to two schools, I do not have time for "homework" that is why I took this retail job in the first place).

I am trying to see what my options are. If I choose to sign the wavier, what if it does not work out with these new policies that I did not sign up for. Can I collect than? Will I run into a problem if the new company lays me off for lack of hours (we are overstaffed so I think it could happen), since I technically would only be an employee with the company for a short amount of time and fall within the 90 day trail employment period?

If I choose to NOT sign the waiver, am I able to collect unemployment since they offered me this position with the new company? Is changing my requirements for employment (like manditory training/internet use at home) a "good cause" reason to quit/not take the job?

I am planning on contacting unemployment office tomorrow as well as the HR department to ask questions about the wavier (vacation time?). I just wanted to see if anyone had any insight on this.

Guest's picture

There are a few other things can be done at the time of layoff/termination to protect the (ex)employee.

In Georgia, an employer is required by the State Dept of Labor to provide a Separation Notice to any employee who is laid-off/terminated! By law, it should be given to the employee at the termination meeting. Many companies don't provide it until the finaly paycheck or, even worse, until the former employee calls asking for it! The Separation Notice is required to process the UI Benefits Claim and not having it on-hand will delay the processing of the claim....not good.

While the form itself is very important to have in hand when you leave the building, there's an even more important reason! When you are handed the form before you leave, you can see the exact reason(s) listed for your termination! If the reason is not truthful, you have a much better chance of getting them to change it while you're still in front of them...and a lot of employers will change it (in your favor) to wrap up the termination meeting and get you out of there! You lose any leverage as soon as you walk out the door!

It's also very important to check the dates of employment, salary and, if applicable, severance pay also listed on the form. Any of those can impact unemployment benefits negatively!

Whether your state requires such forms or not, it's also a very good idea to politely ask the person terminating you if you'll have any problems getting unemployment benefits! A wise HR maanager won't comment, but quite often the firing manager will give reassurances that it won't be an issue. Although it's only verbal, it sends a clear message that you will be filing for benefits and don't expect a problem. It could only work in your favor!

A few other tips-

Do everything in your power to maintain composure (or at least try to outwardly appear so)! Don't make a scene, don't tell your boss what you "really" think about him/her, just do your best to be civil and not lose control! Fight the urge to do a smoking burnout from the parking lot, too.

Over the years, I've also seen that people will do things out of anger and frustration that they would never think of doing under any other cirucmstances! Damaging and/or stealing company property (including intellectual property) are the most common offenses....and in most cases, they are not only unprofessional and short-sighted, they are often criminal! The last thing you need is to lose your job then spend the night in jail!

Any inappropriate behavior on your part could jeopardize your unemployment benefits, even if you normally would have qualified for them. Your former employer will be more likely to spend time/money to fight your claim if you do something to make them angry on your way out the door...And stealing or vandalizing their property could automatially disqualify you from any benefits....not to metion the hope of any furture work references!

Guest's picture
pam munro

I have helped to draft many written warnings for employees whose performance was so poor that without improvement they would have to be let go. Ours are water tight & document every incident of malfeisance - I have to say that I believe that MOST employers are very sloppy and will NOT go to all the trouble to document bad performance and so on- on which their denials of unemployment benefits would have to be based. Get your personnel file - & you will probably see how weakly their position can be defended & then try to document your rebuttal (i.e. good performance reviews, etc.) In this market, you probably should keep a FILE of all these documents against the day when you need to prove that you were NOT fired for CAUSE, so that granting you unemployment will go without saying. In any case, go to appeals - the poor performance rate of the companies trying to support denials shows how weak the case of the companies usually IS. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING (esp. in the case of sabotage!)Sorry to say we live in legalistic times. For some guidance in these issues - take a look at which has legal explanations in understandable language....

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Guest's picture

I would love some constructive criticism. I had been working for two year at a really great firm. I was hired as a clerk but the responsibilities grew with time and I was more than happy to help. I had put my life and soul into getting a promotion and was shocked to find out that although my review was amazing they were going to lay me off. They offered me to re-apply for the new position that was being created (regardless of them being aware that the responsibilities under the new position were exactly the same responsibilities that I had been fulfilling for the last two years).

I have to admit I was not very happy and taken aback by their decision. I chose to leave the firm prior to the date that they wanted me to leave because I was hurt. I had been passed over for promotion on my last two reviews because of the economy and the promise of being promoted when things got better. I told them that I was leaving because I wanted the time to prepare for the February LSAT and stayed for two additional days to help them with the transition.

Regardless, I applied to the new position and I was informed yesterday that they have extended the offer to someone else. Now the question is should I send them a Thank You note for the time and consideration? What should I say?

Guest's picture

I got one for you all. My situation is much similar to all of yours, I worked for a small electrical contractor as a PM and estimator. They laid me off, then claimed they fired me... Here is where it gets interesting. They claimed that I was fired for felony theft, and insubordination. I went to the local police dept. and had them pull my record, which is spotless! Also went to their local police dept. and had them pull claims orginating from the company, and there was nothing there as well. I took this to the adjucator, who said it would be overturned, no problem, there is nothing they have on you. Go home, and don't worry about it... Then I got a letter 2 weeks later saying that the felony theft has been dropped but I was inelegiable for the reason of insubordination (this was in August mind you). I then went ahead and filed my second appeal, when we went infront of the judge (on the phone) he spotted inconsistancies in the employers part. The judge actually started yelling at the previous employer. Case closed (so I thought) now 4 months later I still do not have a ruling on the judges part?! I called the judge, and he told me that he is back logged due to a computer problem... He has yet to decide on my case, but hopes to get to it the first weeek in December... I have been living for the past 4 months on scraps, and donations from my family. I had to apply for assistance in form of food stamps, and gas/electric low income assistance, all while the money (538.00 per week) add's up for the past 4 months (you do the math). This is disgusting, and a complete outrage. First off there should be a law that prohibits this from happening. Second there should be an instant reversal and decision by the judge. It has been over a month now!~ Not a damn thing from the judge. I had to call him, and he called me back 2 days before Thanksgiving telling me to have a good Thanksgiving and he would have to get to it once he gets back from vacation!!!, yeah, and how in the heck do I do that? He is holding the nearly $8,000.00 that can go to paying my mortgage, cars, food, electricity, water, gass and insurance! Come on, I have 3 kids, and a wife who is out of work also, she is not getting any unemployment, nor am I. GOing on 2 month wait for a decision.... One that is fairly obvious, as the judge actually yelled at the employer, and cought him in 3 lies.

Guest's picture

A couple of things for those in CA (I am an insider):

1. The interviewers do NOT automatically believe the claimant is lying. We do understand that Employers lie too as they have an interest in lying to us. The employer pays into unemployment, it does NOT come out of your checks.

2. If you are collecting unemployment and are engaging in self-employment or have a part time job, you MUST report your wages as you EARN them, not as they are paid.

-we will find out you are working and we will penalize you for it, it is fraud. We also know if you are working in other states.

3. If you do not have childcare, you do not qualify for benefits.

4. If you are caring for a relative full time, during your normal working hours for your occupation, you do not qualify for benefits.

5. If you are going to school during your normal working hours, you do not qualify for benefits. We do find out if you are in school.

6. We find out about everything you do, whether it's anonymous tips from people that know you, from other states, from your employer or former employers etc.

7. Employers in CA can fire you for any reason (except those protected under Civil Rights Act) or no reason. They do NOT have to give you a reason. The majority of the time, the ER's are the ones holding up your benefits!!!

8. You are more likely to get benefits if you get fired than if you quit.

9. We know when you go on Disability, you cannot collect both.

10. It is not a good idea to miss your interview if you have one! You will most likely be disqualified. They do not have to leave you a message to have you call back.

It is your responsibility to make sure you are available.

-it is your responsibility to make sure your information is correct, that you're reporting correctly, etc. Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to the law and government money. There is literature that we mail out and there is PLENTY of literature online.

11. If you have a question during your interview, wait until the interviewer is done. **Many interviewers are jaded and impatient, it is not your fault, we deal with many MANY people that do committ fraud and should not be entitled to benefits. So it makes it harder for us to sympathize with those of you that are legitimately out of jobs.

12. The EDD staff do their jobs to the best of their ability, they have deadlines and standards of their own that are set by the Federal Government. They do not make the rules, they just follow them. They do not disqualify arbitrarily, we are trained to follow the letter of the law (the California Unemployment Insurance Code). If you dont' like it WRITE TO CONGRESS!!!!

Guest's picture

I am currently employed full time in TX at a job I've had for almost 2 years in a very small town where daycare is not available. I have been having friends and family members babysit my children while I work. I have two small (one who goes to school and one who does not) I am having trouble finding and KEEPING a baby sitter. If I end up having to quit my job to care for my children will I be eligable for unemployment benefits in TX and if so, what type of documentation should I get from my babysitters or employer?

Andrea Karim's picture

For the record, this is not a forum for exchanging advice on specific state's unemployment laws.

Guest's picture

I worked at a company for two months got laid off because there was a massive cut on our funding. I applied for Unemployment benefits and got denied. It turns out they were charging my previous employer, they appealed my case and won. I decided to file an appeal and have finally recieved a telephone interview next week. After carefully looking at the letter I was shocked to find that they are still charging the wrong employer. I have provided the unemployment office with proof of my actual last place of employment. I decided to call and ask why this was and was told that because I worked at my last place of employment for only two months, the ones responsible for my unemployment would be the company I worked for four years. I am very confused and are afraid of again loosing my case what can I do. I live in Illinois.

Guest's picture

I was fired by phone message(I have the recording) for a theft of documents that I did not take. I called back and he said maybe you didn't but pick up your last check and turn in you uniforms on Tuesday,(this was Friday) I said I guess I'll file for unemployment, he said go for it you'll never get it I've got all the documentation I need on you, you'll never get it. Then he hung up on me. Naturally I didn't know what he was talking about. I filed for unemployment and had the phone interview telling them all of this. I was approved then I receive a letter telling me he is appealing. Now I find out what documentation he's talking about, performance reviews writing me up for uniforms not up to standards after being warned of immediate termination. I never seen these reviews before and had no knowledge of them. During the phone appeal I told the Judge they didn't fire me for anything but theft, that I have the recording and she just said but you didn't submit that did you? All I could say was no. I didn't think to ask to play it for her. She disqualified me for benefits. Now I have to ask a appeals board to review and can I submit the recording. The other issues including uniforms, they brought up had been agreed upon and long standing procedures they allowed right up till I complained about a coworker being late a lot.

Guest's picture

You were disqualified for misconduct, period. It doesn't matter what the recording says or what they told you as the reason for termination. The only thing that matters is WHY you were terminated.

Andrea Karim's picture

Well, that really sucks, doesn't it? Honestly, I think sending a thank-you note is always a good move, as long as you can do it without saying something like "Thanks for sucking so much, I HATE YOU."

Burning bridges is never a good idea. Sending thank-yous is so rare these days that it might not be necessary, but if you can do it without complete resentment, then why not?

Otherwise, just go ahead and keep looking for something else. I am really sorry to hear about your situation - that must have really stung.

Guest's picture

Thank you for these necessary information.
My employer in the termination meeting said' We are experiencing economical difficulties we are sorry and you are lay off".They gave me my last pay check and $5000 extra too for not to sue them.
After two weeks I could not find any job and I filed for unemployment benefit. I got my first check. But UI office in a phone call informed me that I was not lay off but I was fired for misconduct.
My questions are :
1- Why there is not a written statement for employee to explained the kind of termination (laid off - fired) and there is not any more claim from employer for example stealing etc ?
Although my employer did not told me any thing about firing ,they are claimed that I was fired for misconduct! Even employer agent said you are hard working employee.
2- It was my first time termination experience in USA. I never expected they lay off me after six years without having any problem with my employer. It was a big shock to me to hear about laying off from my job.
They were asking me to sign documents and I was not prepared for it. The time of meeting was five minutes to end of business hour and I was for ten hours in office and very tired. I think they imposed these situations on purpose to manage my case easily. Why employer not to give me enough time to think about process and take care of my interests?
3- I applied for new jobs and I answered in the application that I was laid off. When new employer contact my old one they will say I was fired. How I can approve that I was right and my old employer was wrong? I think it is my right to have a written document about the termination of my old job. Why the employer did not give me a written document about my lay off?

Andrea Karim's picture

Hi, James,

This is rather unfortunate. Since I have no idea where you live, I can't point you to legal resources, but I'd say that, in general, it helps your case if you can prove show that other people were let go at the same time that you were. That makes it more of a lay-off and not a firing.

Otherwise, every state is different: I don't know whether or not the state that you work in has any laws that protect you from this kind of behavior.

Guest's picture

I just received notice that my unemployment was being denied after having received it for three months. The reason for my discharge was "too many distracting phone calls from my husband", but it was really because the law firm was having financial problems, and it was just a convenient excuse. Now they are giving reason as "poor job performance". I responded my version of my discharge, but what can I do? They are attorneys, and it is their word against mine.

Guest's picture
Dana P

I started a new job in January. Training was 50 hour work weeks, in three different offices with 3 different doctors--a little over whelming. About 5 weeks into training, I go to leave work and I cannot get into my car because someone parked 4 inches away from my drivers side. I tried to get in thru the passenger side but it's a small car with bucket seats and a stick shift and I am 40 and had back surgery. I went back into to my office and a little while later I went back out to see the other driver leaving their car (they started it to warm it up and were going back into their office). I asked them to move their car and asked them seriously how could I get in my car with how close they parked. The other driver was very young with attitude and told me it was my fault, it was my problem, not her problem, etc etc. I tried to explain that with all the snow and the parking lot covered, I parked as close as possible to the only car in the parking lot when I arrived (obviously leaving room for the other person to get in and out of their car). This young person was very rude and disrespectful. I finally said "Move your f...... car". The girl told me not to talk to her like that and I then said "move your car". She proceeded to move her car. I got into my car, got it started, seatbelt etc. and when I went to back out I noticed that she pulled into the spot directly behind me but across the driveway even though the parking lot had plenty of open spaces. Once I put my car into reverse, she pulled forward blocking me in. It was probably for 10 seconds but scary because I didn't know what she was gonna do next. She finally moved her car and I left. As soon as I got home I called my manager and told her what happened. Turns out the girl also went to my office to complain but she kept changing her story of what happened. Anyway I was written up for it. (I have never been written up for anything my entire life) and I did lose my temper and shouldn't have. Anyway, my work was like you know this can't ever happen--I agreed and we moved on. About a month later, I get into work and the doctor pulls me aside and asks me to tell him about the "incident that happened last week with Nancy (Nancy was training me). I had no idea what he was talking about. He stated that I had used profanity in front of Nancy and it upset and offended her and she has been an employee for over 10years and he let me go. Now Nancy and I had become very close and yes I did use a swear word in a conversation we were having in private behind closed doors. I was not swearing at Nancy. Now later that night Nancy calls me to find out what happened. I tell her what the doctor said and Nancy tells me that is not what happened. The manager would talk to Nancy every week to see how i was doing etc. The manager asked Nancy "Have you ever heard Dana swear"? Nancy said yes a couple of times but it was in a private conversation, never in front of patients, doctors or anything inappropriate. Now I must tell you that I was doing a great job in my training and was told by 3 different co-workers who were all training me on different things. Now the employer denied my unemployment and initially Nancy said she would write a statement for me to provide the unemployment office. Now Nancy has been told that she cannot do such and if there are any requests for anything like that it must go thru management and they will handle it. The week after I was let go, another employee who had been there for 5 years had her position eliminated because the business was down 30% since last year. Now I would guess that most adults would agree that at some point they have used a swear word at work and I personally heard 5 other co-workers use a swear word at this place of employment and they were not written up or terminated. Any advise as to how I should proceed?

Guest's picture
Kathy Willis

Can some one tell me if your job is elimnated and you are transferred to another job (same company) and you will make less--Can you draw unemployment for the difference?

Guest's picture

No you cannot, you will still be "fully employed" it doesn't matter if you're making less than before, if you're considered full time, then you are not eligible. Unemployment is for people who are un or "under" employed, like not full time.

Guest's picture
Unemployed in L.A.

I don't believe you can collect unemployment for the difference, though in some types of employment, if the wages are low enough AND you have enough earnings in your base period (the period of your past employment used to calculate the benefit amount you may be eligible to receive), you might qualify for some unemployment.

I don't know if the reduction in wages is enough to have caused you financial hardship, but if your wages are at least 20% less than they were before, you may have a case for collecting unemployment benefits even though it would be a voluntary quit --at least in California. Whether you are in California or another state, Precedent-Benefit cases are generally accessible. These cases set the standard for practices and procedures in unemployment law. You can do research to find what rules have been established in all sorts of circumstances. Often you can find cases that mirror your own. If you are defending a claim, you may find support in citing these cases.

Here is an excerpt from the decision of the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB) in P-B-124, a case that may provide support for leaving employment because of reduction of wages. (This case was decided many years ago, thus the hourly earnings are reflective of the time period in which the case was decided, but the principal remains the same):

"As a general rule, it has been held that a substantial reduction in wages is regarded as 'good cause' for leaving employment so as to entitle a claimant to unemployment compensation benefits."

"We are in general agreement with this rule. Unless a person would become a nonproductive member of society (see Appeals Board Decision No. P-B-1), a person has good cause to leave his employment when he is confronted with the alternative of continuing employment at a sufficiently substantial reduction of pay or becoming unemployed.

The reduction in pay that the claimant was faced with in the instant case was from $3.65 an hour to $2.885 an hour. Since we cannot find that the claimant became a nonproductive member of society by choosing unemployment rather than accepting this reduction in pay, we find that this reduction in pay (20.96 percent) is sufficiently substantial, in and of itself, to conclude that the claimant had good cause to leave his work."

In the current economic conditions, if you have a job that provides you with enough to live on, it is probably best to hang on to it. So many people are going through tough times. I would say--unless continuing in that job results in hardship--make-do until this economy turns around. Unemployment does not provide great pay, and it is temporary. If unemployment benefits will provide greater means than what you are currently earning, it may be the better option. You have to eat!

Guest's picture

Very intersting to learn about the employer's insurance premiums going up.

So funny Andrea, I've read three articles here this morning based on title and subject, and they are all yours! Guess we have the same curiousities!



Guest's picture
Have Faith

There is hope against the big machine. I was denied UI benefits by the state. I appealed and even though my employer told me at the time of my release he would not challenge them, come court day he was there. I have heard of getting a free pass if the employer does not show up but always plan on it. Keep records and ask for copies of reviews, awards, plaques anything that shows your positive work influence. Were you given a raise due to merit etc.. Things like these are good to bring to the judge or arbitrators attention. The one thing I think that is overlooked is the letter you have to submit to ask for an appeal. If an appeal is granted it means that something in that letter convinced them that you have a case. Figure out what it is. What points did you make in the letter? Focus on them when you begin your opening statement. Be respectful, prompt, dress nicely and do not be Perry Mason. Don't be argumentative. The judge or arbitrator is not going to be impressed. Make your points concise and don't be defensive. Remember it is up to the employer to show just cause. If you have no history of being written up or disciplined you should fair well. In my case I was terminated for a ONE TIME act. It was agreed by the judge that it was not the smartest move on my part but in fairness a ONE TIME act warrants a WARNING not complete JOB LOSS. (Unless you are caught stealing or some other form of malicious behavior in the work place.) Were you warned previously for why you were fired? If not, that is your case. If you were disciplined in the past was it documented? The question would be why were you warned in the past and not fired, what happened to getting warned and documented. Your case could prove that you were warned of somethings in the past for your behaviors but NO WARNING was given for this behavior. Keep things short, let the judge do the digging on what happened. In your final statements keep things SHORT and to the POINTS that are in your favor. The only advice that is going to be too late for a lot of people is to SAVE YOUR $$$$. The appeals process can be lengthy. My case took over 4 months to get heard. No income in that time, and if I had gotten a job I would have to take time off and possibly explain why. Alot of employers aren't big on finding out their newest employee is suing their former company. One more thing. TELL THE TRUTH! Lying will not help you, those judges are pretty smart and deal with a lot of liars that I'm sure spin a pretty good web and wind up getting caught up in it during the back and forth questioning. It can be nerve racking and it's easier to remember the truth than to keep up the lies. I wish anyone in the appeals process the very best of luck. I hope we all can find our dream jobs.

Guest's picture

What should I do in this following situation which I am describing below?
I have worked for that nursing home for 5 years. About December 2010, I took a maternity leave and delivered my triplet infants on January 2010. On may 10, 2010, I tried to return to my full time position but the employer refused to take me back. I filed for unemployment insurance and was awarded. However, 3 months from receiving unemployment, suddenly it got stopped. They stated the reason for my denial was that I supposed to return to work on April 2010. Also, they accused me of quiting my job which is completely untrue. At no times has anyone or my Manager ever told me a specific date for returning to work. The unemployment insurance referee agrees with the employer's decision. I appealed it and wanted to know what I should do in order to continue to receiving unemployment insurance.

Guest's picture

During your appeal process which may take several weeks or a couple of months, you will need to keep filling out the claim forms each week. You will not be paid anything until you meet with an Administrative Law Judge...From the sound of your post, it doesn't sound like you know, or are explaining the whole story, there are a lot of facts missing from your situation.

Guest's picture

Thank you so much for all of your posts. I'm getting ready for my call to fight for unemployment and all of your posts have really helped me focus what I need to say.

Guest's picture

I have a question: I was told I was being laid off and given two weeks "notice." My last day was to be on a Friday. The day before my last day I came in and was promptly handed a termination notice and was fired the day before my last day due to the lay off. I have never been fired or laid off before.

I think my boss did not want to pay unemployment- is this not fishy? Can I still apply, or now is it all over because I was fired?

(I was fired due to one mistake, my first mistake actually with the business ever. I have the memo that says I am being laid off that states I am a great worker. I also have the termination notice that says due to the one mistake I am careless and/or incompetent.)

Guest's picture

A friend was laid off the beginning of May 2011 from a parts manufacturing company in Michigan. He immediately applied for unemployment, but was told that his employer did not submit any information to the government for him. To date, he has filed five (5) claims and has not received any benefits. He has been seeking work, but cannot afford gas or bus fare to where jobs are available. He worked for this company for four (4) years full time. He has not paid rent two months or paid child support.

His employer filed a MI-W4 for him and FUTA and SUTA taxes were deducted from his check. Is he entitled to the unpaid unemployment benefits until he finds a new job. After he finds a new job and the unemployment benefits still have not been paid by his old employer, is he still entitled to the money? Will the employer be fined? Can he sue for being evicted and homeless because of this?

Guest's picture

My employer, upon learning of my pregnancy had began reducing my hours. I filed and was accepted for unemployment to supplement my income if I did not get X amount of hours. I was honest with how many hours she needed to give me to prevent me from being able to collect. So I would re-open my claim, she would get notice and next thing you know I am working more hours. Then maybe a couple weeks my hours go down again. Well, I was 6 1/2-7 months pregnant when she laid me off. We had talked about me working up until just before I gave birth and that I would take PFL then return to work. Since she laid me off I still collected. I only took off a reasonable amount of time I did not claim, then resumed. Well, my claim expired and I was eligible for a new one. And, as the man who was helping me said resulted in me getting a "raise" as it was more then I was getting on my last claim. Right away my boss fights it, saying I quite. At my interview I mentioned that she had left me a voice mail the morning I was supposed to work telling me I was laid off. When the interviewer spoke with her she still tried to say I quite. When asked about the voice mail laying me off, she stuttered and then got angry and told the interviewer "Fine, just give it to her then!" The interviewer actually called me back after speaking with her to tell me, and to let me know my claim was accepted vs. waiting for the determination in the mail! This is the boss that likes to tell all her workers how we're stupid and how much smarter she is then us.

Guest's picture

I worked a job for six hours driving a 30 foot box truck. I told the guy I never drove a truck like this but would give it a try because I wanted to get off the system and back to work. I wasn't very good at driving the truck and was discharged after 6 hours. I am still waiting for the results as we speak. The employer told the arbitrator a bunch of lies saying I told them I was an experienced truck driver. My lawyer who I hired asked the company lawyer "Did you check his credentuals or backround before you hired him"? His lawyer said no. My lawyer then asked "If he wasn't qualifyed for the job why did you hire him"? The lawyer was silent and didn't say a word. The arbitrator then ended the hearing. I can't remember every little detail but I have gone 3 months with no income. I will have to let you know how it turns out. I never in my entire life lost a job in less then a days time.

Guest's picture

WOW - this is some bad information! You do not collect unemployment benefits from the government

You can collect if you are fired

Where should I start - really poor stuff here and very much not correct

Unemployment Compensation deals only with the reason fro separation from employment - not comments from people praising your work - TOTALLY WRONG!!!!!!

How can you mislead people like this?

Andrea Karim's picture

Hi, Vince,

Well, you should start by understanding how unemployment works. You DO collect it through your state government. Employers pay the government through unemployment insurance rates; the government, in turn, pays unemployment benefits to people who qualify. Here's a little primer for you:

People that are fired are increasingly unable to receive unemployment benefits, especially if fired for misconduct (some employers are trying to prevent people who were laid off from receiving benefits by claiming that they were fired for misconduct, even if they weren't - that's sort of the point of the article).

Please go ahead and check out this website:

I'll paste a little bit of it below to help you out:

"Fired employees can claim unemployment benefits if they were terminated because of financial cutbacks or because they were not a good fit for the job for which they were hired. They can also receive benefits if the employer had a good reason to fire the person but the infractions were relatively minor, unintentional, or isolated.

In most states, however, a fired employee will not be able to receive unemployment benefits if he or she was fired for "misconduct." The trick lies in figuring out which reasons to fire are serious enough to qualify as misconduct and justify denying benefits.

Common actions that often result in firing but do not constitute misconduct are poor performance because of lack of skills, good faith errors in judgment, off-work conduct that does not have an impact on the employer's interests, and poor relations with coworkers."

Does that help you understand it a bit better?

Also see:

I realize that you have an unemployment-related web site that you want to promote through blog-commenting, but I'd recommend boning up a little on your reading.

Guest's picture

Thanks for adding that additional information - as you will note if you read the links you posted they are no way listed in the absolute, sure you can be fired and denied benefits - IF the employer sustains the burden of proof necessary to show misconduct in connection with work. (in some states there is an even great burden)

You may also collect unemployment compensation if you resign so long as you have "good cause" in connection with work (with a number of exceptions)

I have been representing Claimants and employer for over twenty years - so, while i love to promote my web site I am also concerned when I see what appears to be bad information.

Thanks for your response - I think and hope we are reaching a point of agreement

Andrea Karim's picture

You'll also notice that, in the actual article I wrote, the sentences are also not in the absolute. Hence the words "in general".

IN GENERAL, people who quit their jobs voluntarily do not qualify for unemployment. There are exceptions, and every state has different rules.

Look, here's more:

"When You Quit

Can you collect unemployment if you quit your job? It depends. In most cases, if you voluntarily left employment you are not eligible. However, if you left for "good cause" you may be able to collect. "Good cause" would be determined by the state unemployment office and you will be able to make a case for why you are eligible for benefits. If your claim is denied, you should be entitled to a hearing where you can plead your case."

This article was not meant to cover every single potential example of unemployment benefits, but rather to help people try to prevent an issue in which a dishonest employer tries to make it seem like a lay-off was actually a dismissal for performance reasons - a trend that was, at the time of writing, on the uptake.

If you plan to promote your business through blog commenting, I highly recommend creating a useful argument, rather than accusing bloggers of misleading readers, and then making a series of false statements yourself.

Guest's picture

I also have a similar story, rather my live-in boyfriend's story. He came in this morning early from work saying he got suspended without pay until further notice. He works for a private waste management and recycling company with an incredibly negligent boss. He has recently gotten his class a license and was promoted to driving the trash trucks. The trucks are deploreable and a dangerous risk to drive anywhere and despite the numerous complaints from my b/f an the other drivers nothing has been done to fix or replace these trucks. They've had four accidents this past week alone because his boss doesn't want to replace the cameras on the backs of these trucks. Trash trucks do a lot of backing up! Seasoned drivers are getting into these accidents. Now my b/f never had an accident with any other vehicle and has done nothing wrong but bring the attention to safety to his boss. Just yesterday my b/f had a scare with some of these greasy waxy cardboard catching fire in the compactor. He saved the truck and any possible explosions by pulling over and dumping it out and attempting to exstinguish the fire with the lousy exstinguishers they have on hand. Luckily fire dept came and put it out. Today he's asked to drive a dangerous truck and refuses stating the problems to his boss and gets suspended for "complaining" too much.

Guest's picture

Actually, if an employer reports that you were fired for performance, you WILL be able to collect benefits. This is fundamental to UI law in every state. Discharges are disqualifying if the employer can prove misconduct (including policy violations), and poor performance or inability are, by definition, NOT misconduct. In fact, in most states (I believe all states) a report of "discharged for poor performance" is not even considered a protest of benefits, and this is clearly indicated on the form the employer submits to provide the reason for termination. Your advice not to lie about compensation is also off base - UI claimants don't have the opportunity to lie about compensation, because compensation is provided by the employer, usually to a database of all employees, so the information is on file even before a claim is filed. You really should do some basic research on unemployment insurance laws before you try to offer advice to people who might have to file claims!

Andrea Karim's picture

Actually, if you had read any of the articles that are linked to in this blog post, you would realize that employers are regularly challenging unemployment claims due to performance reasons.

You might also do a little research regarding unemployment rights.

"When you are fired for misconduct (also known as terminated for cause) you may not be eligible for unemployment compensation. Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, stealing, lying, failing a drug or alcohol test, falsifying records, deliberating violating company policy or rules, and other serious actions related to your employment. "

Guest's picture

Ugh, I feel sick reading about this. I have not applied for unemployment yet because I had severance. Now I'm worried there will be no unemployment. It was already a rotten way they terminated me and I am afraid it may have been successful enough to cover them on the unemployment side.

Guest's picture

Yes, severance was not addressed in this blog. I have received severance but the company called it salary continuance and EDD denied benefits. Now I have to go in front of the judge to fight for it. I have seen second-hand information that severance pay is not a reason to deny the benefit, but I don't know exactly what the law says and how to present it to the judge.

Guest's picture

Hi ,
I just found out I'm being laid off tomorrow, but the company I worked for today offered me a job only guaranteeing two hours a pay week and another job I don't qualify for. My company has a union and everything is done by seniority They want me to sign a paper declining the positions, so I can't file a grievance. I'm afraid to sign the paper because they might use it against me for collecting? So my question is 2 hours a pay week even considered offering me a job and if I don't qualify for the other job can I collect?

Guest's picture

A previous employer fired me, in the middle of large cleaning house (company was in the middle of being sold). When I filed for unemployment, they told me my Manager said it was due to poor performance. So I filed an appeal, and asked what that appeal process entails. They said that the company would have to provide documented proof that I had poor performance. Well since I had nothing but good evaluations, I asked the clerk, if I would get a copy of whatever proof was submitted, and she said she would. I filed an appeal on Friday, and long story short, on Monday I was approved for unemployment benefits. This was in the state of TX btw. Lesson of the story is, if you truly were wronged in your termination, fight, fight, fight, until you get what's rightfully yours.

Guest's picture
Grace Lemos

I work as a bartender for a not for profit organization (Moose Lodge) . A week ago the Board of officers advised that in four days our paid jobs would end. We could work as volunteer bartenders and earn tips only! Am I eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits?

Guest's picture

I have been on unemployment in N.Y State for several weeks now. I received notice to return to work in a week. The job is low pay, no benefits, and they require I work nights and weekends ( which I refuse to work). I feel I was not treated fairly when I worked there before and I don't want to be in the same position again. They did and will again reduce my hours of work without notice or explanation etc. Can I legally turn this job down ?

Guest's picture

I have one I've never had to think about and don't know how to advise. My daughter's boyfriend works for Chipotle. They have been inching his hours back to nothing. They over hire to keep the employees hours below 29 so they can avoid Obamacare. Now with their legal and publicity troubles, they have too many employees. To avoid unemployment insurance, rather than lay them off, they merely reduce the hours to zilch. He was scheduled for 8 hours last week and at the last minute, they cancelled 4 of them. This week the scheduled 4 and cancelled them at the last minute. He has been de facto laid off, but not de jure. They won't say it. I have seen this one other time with the next door neighbor's daughter at a Walmart Neighborhood Market. Apparently this is the new screw over the employees game. What recurse does he have to a company that will not admit that they have laid employees off?

Guest's picture

Being fired from a job does not disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits, at least in most cases. The only reasons you would be denied benefits is if you either resigned (this would result in a delay but not a denial of benefits), or were terminated for misconduct. Misconduct as it pertains to unemployment eligibility is defined in the state statutesand may vary from state to state, but as a general rule it amounts to lying, breaking a law, violating explicit company policy, insubordination, excessive documented tardiness that you were warned about, or gross deliberate negligence. Typically anything outside those criteria will still leave you eligible to collect benefits.

Guest's picture

Wow. I've been through this several times over the years here in Alabama. The system is the state and employer against the employee. The first two are allied and have no interest in paying anything and the employee is considered guilty until proven innocent. On top of that you are penalized for even applying for unemployment if you don't get it! And I am currently appealing a charge that I was fired for misconduct for simply doing my job. I agree with those who say to document everything even if it's just little notes to yourself. I think that will help me with my appeal.