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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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So I wound up getting on EDD (California Unemployment) because

Resolved Question:

So I wound up getting on EDD (California Unemployment) because I was laid off from a 6 month film/tv gig, and am now starting my first extension. EDD is asking for records of my work searches, and I have to bring it into an interview/employment reassessment.

Since being unemployed 6 months ago, I’ve actively been searching for work, however I’ve only been looking for film/tv gigs (long term technical positions, post-production, etc). The thing is, film/tv is a relatively new career path. I was a teacher for about 8 years, have a more advanced degree in Education, and it would be easier for me to get a job as one. However a few years back I got severely burned out and started getting into film (a few productions here and there, then went back to community college for film, eventually a 6 month gig).

EDD knows that I'm a teacher, because the job I used to establish how much money I would get for unemployment (in the prior year) was a teaching job, even though my LAST job was in post-production. Is there any chance EDD could take back any payments they’ve given me since I have only been searching in the field I’m less qualified in? Will looking for film/tv work be considered a "suitable work search", and if not can they take back any money they've given me for not looking for teaching jobs?
Submitted: 2 years ago via Cornell Legal Info Institute.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Can you please tell me how many jobs you are able to apply for each week?

Additionally, can you tell me how much training you received in community college before you got your 6 month position?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I've been applying to at least 3 jobs per week (in film/tv), and I have email records. I applied online for both teaching positions as well as film/tv jobs this week, just in case.


I was at community college for two semesters, took an editing class, then landed an assistant editing position for 6 months. However I've had scattered work in film over the past 4 or 5 years.


They're calling me in for a mandatory Reassessment meeting to make sure we're actively looking as well as give tips on work searches, etc. (for all people getting an extension) this Monday, but they're only asking for work searches from the past 2 weeks.


I'm ok if they ask to start looking for teaching jobs, but I'm wondering if they can cut me off or worse, take all my money back for only searching for film/tv jobs.

Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Hello Joe,

Since you've been applying for at least three jobs a week and have records of doing so, you are in absolutely no danger of having your benefits taken back from you for the past six months. They will also definitely not cut you off from benefits, and will quite possibly allow you to continue to only look for jobs in the Film and TV industry.

The requirements for looking for 'suitable work' are set out below:

Title 22, Section 1253(e)-1 provides in part:

". . . The claimant shall be required to show that he or she has, in addition to registering for work . . . followed a course of action which is reasonably designed to result in his or her prompt reemployment in suitable work, considering the customary methods of obtaining work in his or her usual occupation or for which he or she is reasonably suited, and the current conditions of the labor market. "

Suitable work is defined in Title 22, Section 1253(c)-1(c) as:

"Suitable work" means work in the claimant’s usual occupation or work for which the claimant is reasonably fitted. Whether the work is work for which the claimant is reasonably fitted depends upon such factors as the claimant’s age, health, prior training, and experience. . . ."

Although your usual past occupation was as an educator, you are reasonably suited (and qualified) for work in the Film and TV industry now with a 6 month job and a year of training, on top of your periodic work in the field over the past 4 to 5 years.

The only time when EDD would ever take away your benefits would be if they instructed you to look for a job in the education field (as well as TV and Film) and you failed to do so. However, since they've yet to request that you also look for education jobs, they do not have the authority to deem your active job search unsuitable, as you have been looking for jobs in your chosen field of Film and TV production (even though it's not the filed in which you have the most training).

And, as I mentioned before, I believe it unlikely that they will mandate that you look for education jobs, since you have been employed in the Film and TV industry previously and are well qualified for other jobs in the field. This is because TV and Film work is also suitable for you, since you are reasonably qualified to perform it.

You can see the EDD's site regarding efforts to seek suitable work here for additional information:

Please don't hesitate to ask any follow up, clarifying or additional questions regarding any of the above information, as I want to be sure you are completely satisfied with my service to you.

Thanks and best of luck!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks! That's great to hear, and I couldn't ask for a better answer.


Just a quickie follow-up: The form I have to bring in is a Reemployment/Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire and 2 of the questions are related to all of this.


"List your usual occupation(s)/length of experience" (and gives me two lines) to fill out.


"What type of work are you seeking?"


Do I even have to mention Education on this form, being that there's a legal disclaimer about penalties for "withholding facts"


Thanks again! I feel a lot better going into this meeting now.

Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
You should list both Education and TV/Film Production/Post-Production work on the form, listing TV and Film Production first.

Education would still be one of your usual occupations, since it's the field in which you've worked for the majority of the past eight years, so you should definitely list it, especially since failing to do so could lead to complications with your benefits.

You can also honestly state that you've been looking for work in both fields. (There's not really space to explain any more than that, and it is true since you did so over the past week).

You should also list the education job(s) you've applied for in the work search questionnaire.

I'm happy to help and glad you're feeling better going into the meeting now!

Thanks again and best of luck!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK - one more and that's it...


They're also making us post a resume on their Caljobs website...and it looks like you have to pick what kind of work you are seeking. From what you're saying it sounds like it's fine to tailor my resume more toward Film/TV, right?


OK that's it...thanks again!

Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Hello Joe,

Yes, since you are reasonably fitted for work in the Film and TV industry, it is completely fine for you to tailor your resume for a job in the Film and TV industry rather than the education field.

Thank you and have a great weekend!
Joseph, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
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