Thanks for sending me the additional information. Keep in mind that Washington State is what's called an "at will
" state. Businesses may fire "at will." There are no laws regarding dismissal, so businesses are not required to give warnings or follow any particular steps.
Your question originally was, "do I have to sign the warning letter?"
It really is up to your employer. Unless the employer is engaging in unlawful activity (discrimination
because of your age, gender, race, religion, color, national origin . . . ), the employer is free to set the requirements for you keeping your job.
Usually employees are asked to sign letters such as this so that the employer can show that the employee received a copy of the letter and/or understood the content. It does usually not mean that you agree.
I'll also give you some bad news. Many employers do not bother to give warning letters unless they are planning on firing someone. In other words, the employer makes up his/her mind that the employee will be fired and then gives the warning letter just to make a record of what happpened in case the employee later tries to sue.
Every now and then an employer really wants to give an employee a chance to improve. So, the letter is given as a way for you to improve and keep your job.
So, if you want to keep this job - keep in mind that the employer is in total control. They can fire you with no notice at all in an at-will state such as Washington.
Instead of fighting what the employer says, if you want to keep your job you are going to have to admit that perhaps you've had some deficiencies and you're going to have to improve.
Let's skip to the next issue you asked about - unemployment insurance
Unemployment insurance is designed to assist workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. So if you quit, then you DO NOT get benefits.
Benefits are not based on financial need. Although weekly benefits do not completely replace your regular earnings, they can help you meet expenses until you find a new job.
If you get fired you should apply during the first week you become unemployed.
The state decides if you are eligible for unemployment benefits based on your employment history and the reason you became unemployed.
You must have 680 hours of covered employment in your base year to meet the initial requirements to qualify for a claim.
You need to give the State the reason you became unemployed. Again, if you quit - no unemployment
You are probably eligible if your employer laid you off for lack of work. They will have to make a decision about your eligibility if you were fired or suspended by your employer, or are on a leave of absence.
They will get information about your separation from both you and your employer. Both you and your employer have an opportunity to respond to each other's version of the separation. The state will then issue a written decision based on the information they gathered.
You must be physically able to work, available for work, and actively seeking suitable work to get unemployment benefits.
So, if you want to give a written response to the letter this is what I would suggest,
"Thank you for the written notice last Friday. I appreciate the acknowledgement of my original efforts toward the job but I was disappointed to learn that you feel that I'm not happy with my job and that you now feel that I'm not putting in a good effort.
Even though I disagree with your description of my recent work, I am reporting today with the positive "can-do" attitude that you've requested. I love my job and will give a greater effort and with you're support, I'm sure that I can change your opinion of recent events. Thanks again for the warning and giving me the opportunity to change your opinion."
. . . .
Please look this over and feel free to request clarification from me. There is no point in arguing with the employer. The employer controls this. If you argue, you will be fired and you really don't have any recourse unless there is evidence of unlawful discriminaton on account of race, color, gender, age, disability, religion, national origin . . . .