ScottyMacEsq : Thank you for using JustAnswer. What is your question?
Customer: This is for employment law in Chicago, IL correct?
ScottyMacEsq : Yes, if you can explain what your question is, I can see if I can answer it, and if not, I can opt out to allow another expert to assist.
Customer: So I left and filed for unemployment. I requested that my employer give me a letter of termination.
Customer: He sent me a letter saying he accepted my early resignation. When I contacted him asking if I should go back to work because I did not resign. He said that I had already resigned and he asked me to leave early for "disruptive behavior" which is different than being fired.
Customer: This makes no sense to me. I have a phone interview next week with unemployment service. I am actively seeking per diem work
ScottyMacEsq : So did he terminate you first, or did you leave voluntarily?
Customer: I was asked to leave, and I left.
ScottyMacEsq : What was the context that you were asked to leave?
Customer: According to him, I have not been terminated, he wrote me a letter saying he "accepted my early resignation"
ScottyMacEsq : Are you still responding to my follow up question?
ScottyMacEsq : (it's been 17 minutes, so I want to make certain that we're still chatting...)
Customer: sorry I lost connection
Customer: I was sat down by the owner and her husband the manager. He said he wanted me to leave early for alleged "disruptive behavior" When I protested about the "disruptive behavior" He got up and left the room and the building and said I could discuss it with his wife
Customer: I got another employee who had witnessed the alleged "disruptive behavior" and she explained what actually happened to the owner. The owner's only response was that she recommended I handle things better in the future.
Customer: I told her that I was very upset that I was only given less than 24 hour notice. I then got my things and left the building.
ScottyMacEsq : So you were told to "leave early". Did you take that to mean for the day, or to "leave and not come back"?
ScottyMacEsq : That is, why did you think that you were terminated at that point?
Customer: Yes. Initially he was ignoring my repeated contact requesting to ssend a letter of termination. But his reply the first time via text was: don't contact me further on my private phone line or it will be considered harrasment (day of termination), a few days later I received a letter saying he accepted my early resignation, I texted back saying that I hadn't resigned and let me know when to come back. He responded: you already resigned, we decided to accept your resignation early due to your behavior, and that is why we asked you not to come back
ScottyMacEsq : Did anyone tell you not to come back until they told you to come back?
Customer: No. He said I would like today to be your last day at the meeting.
Customer: He has never made a statement about me returning. When I asked to return...his response above
ScottyMacEsq : Thank you. First of all, it's pretty clear that you did not formally resign. They can't really say that you "resigned" because resignation is an affirmative act. That being said, the main question is whether you "voluntarily quit" or were discharged in a manner due to no fault of your own.
Customer: I did not quit
ScottyMacEsq : (by the way, Chicago doesn't have any regulations per unemployment, but rather it would be Illinois law that would govern)
ScottyMacEsq : Yes, I realize that.
ScottyMacEsq : The point is that you're going to have to convince the unemployment board of this.
Customer: OK I see
ScottyMacEsq : A discharge occurs when a worker is given no option to remain employed. A voluntary leaving occurs when the worker chooses not to remain employed. Whether a worker has an option to remain employed or chooses not to remain employed is determined by examining his and the employer's words and actions. Put another way, an individual is discharged when the employer takes the action that results in her unemployment and she does not have a choice of remaining employed. An individual leaves work when she has a choice of remaining at work, but takes the action that results in unemployment.
ScottyMacEsq : The main question will be whether their words and actions indicated that you no longer had a job, or whether you DID...
ScottyMacEsq : If there's a "don't come back" type statement, then that would clearly be a termination.
ScottyMacEsq : If there's a "see you tomorrow" then that clearly wouldn't be.
ScottyMacEsq : Everything else is in the middle, and can lead one way or the other...
Customer: Via text message:
ScottyMacEsq : If you had a good reason, based upon his words and actions, to believe that you would be called to come back to work, and ultimately were told that they "accepted" your resignation, you can certainly say that you did not resign and that they can't "prove" that you did.
Customer: I told him after receiving his letter in acceptance of resignation, that I didn't resign and I would come back to work. Via text he replied, "you already resigned, we accepted it early because of your disruptive behavior, and that is why we asked you not to come back"
Customer: ok cool
ScottyMacEsq : And the fact that he said "that is why we asked you not to come back" indicates that this is what he said.
ScottyMacEsq : That statement can be used against him.
ScottyMacEsq : Basically you can say that you never resigned, and if you did, he wouldn't have NEEDED to say "that is why we asked you not to come back"
Customer: Ok well now as to defending myself against good reason for termination?
ScottyMacEsq : (obviously you wouldn't need to be told not to come back if you had resigned)
Customer: Can this text message conversation be given as evidence somehow if necessary?
ScottyMacEsq : You can certainly let them know that they sent you this text message, indicating that they told you not to come back.
ScottyMacEsq : As for "for cause" termination, an individual who is discharged for misconduct connected with his work is ineligible for benefits for the week in which he was discharged for misconduct and thereafter until he has become re-employed and has had earnings equal to or in excess of his weekly benefit amount in each of four calendar weeks. These earnings must be for services in “employment” as defined in the Act, or must be for services in which the earnings have been or will be reported under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act by the employing unit.The Act defines “misconduct” as the “deliberate and willful violation of a reasonable rule or policy of the employing unit, governing the individual’s behavior in performance of his work, provided such violation has harmed the employing unit or other employees or has been repeated by the individual despite a warning or other explicit instruction from the employing unit.”
ScottyMacEsq : "Disruptive behavior" is very nebulous.
ScottyMacEsq : It has to be clear that there is a deliberate and willful violation, or some other intentional act intended to harm...
ScottyMacEsq : This is actually pretty hard to show.
ScottyMacEsq : (especially if it was a one-off situation)
ScottyMacEsq : If it was a repeated issue, or a violation of a clearly established rule, then that would be different.
Customer: Well I only want to collect for the 2 1/2 weeks left until my actual resignation
Customer: Ok well the "offense" they alleged happened was actually a heated discussion where I was expressing concern for poor working conditions.
ScottyMacEsq : Wait, so you did resign?
ScottyMacEsq : (I'm confused...) I thought you said that you were terminated...
Customer: Yes, as I said before. I resigned with a 5 week notice
Customer: They fired me before the 5 weeks was up
ScottyMacEsq : I did not see that you had resigned with a 5 week notice...
ScottyMacEsq : That must not have been relayed through the system...
ScottyMacEsq : One moment please...
Customer: Oh I was having internet issues.
Customer: They fired me 2 1/2 weeks before my last day. I wanted to apply for unemployment compensation for that two 1/2 weeks, because I was counting on that income to pay my bills. Two weeks net pay for me is like $2400
Customer: It is a huge loss for me
ScottyMacEsq : I understand. The same standards apply, in that a discharge occurs when a worker is given no option to remain employed. A voluntary leaving occurs when the worker chooses not to remain employed. Whether a worker has an option to remain employed or chooses not to remain employed is determined by examining his and the employer's words and actions. If the 5 weeks notice was merely a formality and not an expression that you intended to work 5 more weeks, as evidenced by any behavior you might have, that would be voluntary leaving. But if you clearly intended to work that 5 weeks, that would be termination if you were terminated before that time.
ScottyMacEsq : (up until the 5 weeks were up, of course, at which point your quitting would take over)
ScottyMacEsq : Basically if the employer takes the action that results in your unemployment, rather than you, then you can still be eligible.
Customer: Ok well I asked to come back two times. I was very clear both on the day they asked me to leave and afterward
ScottyMacEsq : I understand. And I think that that bit of evidence goes in your favor.
ScottyMacEsq : But still, it will be up to the referee to decide, in which you need to show that but for their actions, you would have gladly worked for the remaining time, and you were given no option to remain employed.
Customer: Ok well then about this "incident" he said happened. There was another employee in the room that wrote a both a statement about what happened during the conversation he based his termination on, and she also wrote a really great character reference.
Customer: Actually every employee in the office said they would write a character reference for me in case our employer tried to make me look bad to my new employer and make trouble with my licensing in another state. Will this help my unemployment compensation request?
ScottyMacEsq : Not necessarily unless they can corroborate your story that it was the actions of the employer that left you unemployed. Your character is not considered (except in the situation where they try to claim it was "misconduct", in which it could help)
Customer: well I didn't do anything wrong. they are basically saying it was misconduct, if misconduct means that he said I was asked to leave because I raised my voice at him in front of his daughter and said derogatory statements about the company.
Customer: I actually worked my ass off (excuse my language
Customer: without additional compensation the entire week before I got fired
ScottyMacEsq : I believe you.
Customer: Ok well is what misconduct means?
ScottyMacEsq : Probably not. It could be "insubordination" if there's manifest an indifference as to whether you remain employed or not...
ScottyMacEsq : And that's ultimately up to the referee to determine, based upon the facts.
ScottyMacEsq : : In order to constitute misconduct, an act must exhibit a wanton or willful disregard of the employer's rules, a disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of its employee, or an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer's interest or of the employee's duties and obligations to the employer. Being merely argumentative is not sufficient for misconduct
Customer: Ok thank you, XXXXX XXXXX I have a good idea of how to handle the interview. So I am assuming that after they hear my side of the story they are going to want to interview the employer since he is saying I resigned early. If this gets drug out, will I still get back pay if I am ultimately awarded unemployment say 3 weeks from now
ScottyMacEsq : Yes. If you're awarded unemployment, it will go back to when you were terminated.
ScottyMacEsq : And you're welcome. I hope that clears things up a bit If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time (1 hr 15 minutes) and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!
Customer: what if it takes a month or so and I am working again at that time
ScottyMacEsq : You'll still get the unemployment.
ScottyMacEsq : It's based upon the time that you're unemployed, not when you get the award.
Customer: Great I will absolutely rate you.
Customer: Seriously, I feel so much better after talking to you.
ScottyMacEsq : I do wish you the best of luck in this matter.
Customer: Thank you!
Customer: Ok I am going to exit. Take care
ScottyMacEsq : You're welcome, and again, good luck to you!
ScottyMacEsq : You too.