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Tina, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
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After 12 years at a good job where I was a valued and happy

Resolved Question:

After 12 years at a good job where I was a valued and happy employee, I am stressed out (asthma, stomach problems, insomnia, sleep and asthma meds, missed days at work) because my employer has changed my job over the last two months. Corporate (I work as a GED instructor at a private, post-secondary school) provided no new written job description, is piling on work so that my workload has tripled, is constantly haranguing me with reprimands and threats, and yesterday stated that I should quit. I know Corporate is trying to get me to quit without being forced out; they say it would be more dignified, a better way to ensure my "legacy."

I'm 62, don't financially need the job. I am miserable at work. I would like to quit, give proper notice, but I would like to receive unemployment, which is why I have been waiting for Corporate to push me out. May not be possible to get unemployment if I resign. In terms of receiving unemployment, is it better to get fired with cause (not able to do work of three people) or quit honorably with notice and state to EDD that I was stressed out, and that I got pushed out?

Is quitting or getting terminated better in terms of going out the right way? Or, should I exact some bit of revenge and just quit on the spot? I hesitate to just quit because it would affect co-workers and clientele.


Greg Knapp
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
Hello and welcome, Greg.

I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation.

Is the employer piling on the work to get you to quit because of your age? Are other similarly situated but significantly younger employees receiving more favorable treatment?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

It hasn't been stated, of course, that my age is a reason to force me out. I am paid more than my colleagues in similar position. I think it's more that I have been in a relatively autonomous role, in charge, and am not able to adapt well to the new fiat of (counter-productive) procedures and processes, which a younger employee could handle more quickly by a flexible nature and via e-mail, computer, etc., more adeptly than I.


Through conversations, I know there is dissatisfaction among the other (younger) co-workers.


In sum, I think I am being forced out because I can't keep up, and I voice my reservations about failing at something that I have been succeeding at.


Don't want to buy more of your time, but what is best approach to take when I end up at EDD?

Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information.

Resigning typically makes it very difficult to collect unemployment benefits unless the employer is giving you an ultimatum to quit or be fired, OR if you can prove that the working conditions were so poor that a reasonable person would have been compelled to quit (the constructive discharge doctrine).

The burden is on the employee if they resign though to prove that they exhausted all other alternatives. Therefore, it is normally recommended that the employee be terminated involuntarily without good cause in order to collect unemployment benefits.

If it is feasible, the employer could be approached with regard to terminating the employee, not challenging the employee's right to benefits, in exchange for the employee agreeing to waive any claims they may have against the employer.

It does not appear the employee would have an age claim against the employee where the employer seems to be motivated by other factors in attempting to force the employee out. However, the employer may be concerned that the employee will file an age discrimination case anyway. So if the employee waives such claims in return for the employer's cooperation in seeking unemployment benefits, both parties may be able to obtain the result they are seeking.

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Tina and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thanks for allowing follow-up. Yesterday campus director gave me an ultimatum to quit or risk being fired. No one else in office, no recording, nothing written.


Next time we meet I'll ask for something in writing.


My plan: check employee manual for


Long-term disability with my firm (wife's coverage includes me; she is reluctant to use that option) Not sure if if I have LTD...on check it says AD & D, Supp Life.


Get an sick days excuse from Pulmonary physician, whom I'm seeing today for asthma and insomnia. add LTD request.


Take as many sick days as I can (+200 plus hours accrued). Vacation days are deleted.


Resign, with a letter waiving age, other claims, in exchange for benefits.


Company cannot fire me with good cause as I am good worker, but they will likely find one now if they look hard enough. Stress has caused me to make poor decisions and use poor word choice, too much emotion.


Let me know. Thanks.



Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
Yes, I would seek something in writing from them. If you can communicate by e-mail, that would leave a trail for you to present to the commission if it comes to that.

To collect unemployment benefits, you must normally be able and willing to work, so be careful with the sick days as you must be released to work and able to work before you can collect unemployment normally.

All the best to you and your family.
Tina and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you