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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I received a Notice of Determination from CA EDD saying I am

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I received a Notice of Determination from CA EDD saying I am not eligible to receive benefits because "You quit your last job with [the company] to attend school". In writing my appeal, do I just answer this statement directly, or should I include the real reasons why I left (I already stated my reasons for leaving to the phone interviewer; attending school was not one of the reasons).
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Why did you leave, if you don't mind?

It may help me answer the question better.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Did you not receive my questions or is there someting that you don't understand about it?

I'd like to know why you actually left your previous employer (if you actually "quit") because it will determine my answer.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Several reasons. Since January this year, I had been told (separately) by both owners of the company that "you're too expensive", "when are you leaving", "we won't hold you back if you want to go". This is because business had slowed so much my salary was nearly equal to one months net revenue. I was the highest paid employee they had (I was the store manager their highest grossing retail outlet - they have 5 stores in Los Angeles). The first week of September I talked to the company president (one of the two owners)and told him I could leave. He said he would lay me off. We agreed I would leave at the end of September. I gave notice at my apartment, I sold or gave away most of my belongings - including all my furniture - and I made arrangements to move up to Oregon and live with my mother until I found a job. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford Los Angeles anymore and she wasn't going to charge me rent. A week before I left the company, I called the company president and asked him for a written notice of my lay-off. He first said he had changed his mind as he (he said) "just found out the reserve account would be charged" if he laid me off. I strongly disagreed that he was just coming into this knowledge as 1)the company has been in business since 1982, and 2) I have known and worked for both owners for much of the last 25 years and know well the tactics they've used to avoid paying unemployment so they could avoid having the charge applied.

In June, I asked for my 2-week vacation pay (due in April) and was told by the company president that they couldn't afford to pay me for my vacation time. He gave me a check for $600; I was due $1523. He also took away my vacation benefit and refused to pay my accrued vacation pay from April to June ($253). I have not received money owed to me, and no other company employee lost their 2-week vacation benefit.

As to leaving because of school, I am 50 years old. I have been taking classes at a community college for the past ten years. I do very well in my classes. I get good grades. I have three times made the Dean's Honor List. However, I do not have a transfer degree. I do not have a high school diploma. I do not have a GED. I take the classes for self-improvement and because I love to learn. I plan on sending a copy of my transcript to EDD showing that I have been going to school while concurrently working full-time for the same company. The company owners have known about me taking classes for the entire ten years. I will be taking more classes at a community college here in Oregon after I get a job and can afford school. Having a job that paid me enough to afford the $26 per unit class fees in California was one of the reasons I stayed so long at the company. I now live in Oregon, am as yet jobless, and can't afford the $74 per unit tuition at an Oregon community college.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Ok.

I'm afraid that a deeper explanation of why you left may not help here, but it's worth a shot. You might be able to argue that you were actually constructively discharged (even though they made you "quit") by their actions leading up to your leaving. You can note that you sold belongings, gave notice on your residence, etc. You can also outline this change in the employer's thinking, which can be considered an intent to defraud unemployment. So yes, you need to do more than just answer the question concerning school. You need to give them every reason to side with you.

As for the money that you have not received, you need to make a wage claim against them. Under California law, earned vacation is considered wages and is payable at termination/quitting.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
After some heated discussion and my persistence in calling out the owner for telling me he would be laying me off and then saying he wouldn't, the owner said he "would take care of me" which I understood to mean that I was being laid off. He said I could pick up my last check on the following Monday (my last day would be Saturday, Sept.26 - a few days after this phone conversation). I turned the store and the keys over to the new manager on Sept.26 and went to the main office on Monday to get my notice and my check. The only person there was the bookkeeper who gave me my check and told me there was nothing else left for me.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
I understand. The pay issue has to be dealt with by either suing them (at your cost) or going through the wage claim process that I provided a link to above. That's your recrouse on the vacation pay issue. I can't really tell you anything more about that. You just have to claim the pay and the employer will have to try and account for why they failed to properly pay you (and may be subject to fines).

I've also expressed how you should approach the response to unemployment. Give them everything that you have, meaning all the information concerning how the employer essentially tricked you into quitting so that it would not have to pay unemployment (noting all the requests that you leave, the promise to take care if it and then the backing out on it when it was already too late for you to reverse what you had started).
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 15604
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Allen M., Esq. and 7 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks very much. This clarifies what I need to say.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
No problem.

I'll close the question.

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