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Christopher B, Esq.
Christopher B, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 2677
Experience:  associate attorney
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I was off from my employer last Friday (9/16/6). They are a

Customer Question

Hello, I was laid off from my employer last Friday (9/16/6). They are a government consulting firm. They told me that it was not due to misconduct, just that the client didn't think I was a good fit for the team (I was the only person of color on the team).
The employer stated that they didn't have any other project work for me, so I was being let go from the company, as well. They have repeatedly asked that I submit a resignation in lieu of termination, stating that I can still receive unemployment insurance. They do not consider it a lay off, even though they stated I was being let go for lack of work assignments.
When I suggested I was talking with an attorney because they refused to give me a formal letter of termination, they sent an email asking again if I want to resign and offering a 2 week severance pay if I sign a release form.
According to the unemployment office, quitting your job does not qualify an individual for benefits. Are they breaking some laws by continually asking me to resign, so they won't have to pay unemployment benefits?
Do I have some sort of leverage to request more of a severance, considering they are offering one now only after I stated I was speaking to an attorney?
Is anything they are doing standard procedure (not providing a letter of termination, requesting my resignation vs layoff, offering severance after the word "attorney" is brought up)?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today. Thank you for your question and for using justanswer.com.

They are not breaking any laws here. If you were forced to resign then you can still qualify for unemployment, it is not the same as simply quitting your job, you were forced to resign and your employer would have to claim otherwise in order to deny you unemployment. The key question is whether you are out of work without fault on your part. So, if you were forced to quit your job in lieu of being fired you can still be eligible for benefits. It depends on how much you trust your employer (I would try to gather various documentation from your employer showing your forced resignation and if you draft a letter of resignation you should be sure to state that your employer asked for it) but you are technically not disqualified from benefits if you were forced to resign. If you did resign on your own volition, you would be denied benefits.

You do have leverage to request more severance as it seems your employer really wants to control your resignation. This is standard procedure as you could have a claim for wrongful termination (possibly based on race as you mentioned that you were the only person of another race in your group and were the only one asked to leave). This is standard procedure if they are worried about a suit such as this. If you resign, this will make you case not as good and they might even have you sign something saying that you will not file a wrongful termination suit.

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Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Just checking back in, do you have any further questions?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
What is the benefit to them by my resigning vs what actually happened (no work available)?
What is the standard severance package requests (4-6 weeks, 2 months, etc)? What do you charge to write a severance negotiation letter?
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Resigning would be a severance package. Termination with cause has also has a potential to be denied unemployment so that is another benefit. Forced resignation allows for unemployment and is similar to being laid off. So the benefit would be the severance. There really is no standard severance package and I would guess they are looking at closer to 2 weeks than 2 months. Either way, they are letting you go, so you do not have a lot of leverage to ask for a lot. I would probably accept pretty close to what they offer and maybe counter offer once. I could draft you a letter for $55.

Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer if satisfied. There should be smiley faces or numbers from 1-5 to choose from. This extra step will cost you nothing extra and will be greatly appreciated. See link for how to rate: http://ww2.justanswer.com/help/how-do-i-rate-answer-hl

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

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