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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37850
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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My employer is in chapter 11 status. The owner laid me off

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My employer is in chapter 11 status. The owner laid me off 12-28-12 and checks were ready for me to pick up 1-2-13, according to the trustee I am not laid off. I had this conversation with him on 1-4-13 after the fact that I was laid off. I had already filed for unemployment when told I was laid off. Will there be a problem with me receiving the benefits if the trustee say I quit, although I have paperwork to the contrary.
Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.

What paperwork do you have to suggest that you were laid off?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Doug, it says status waiting for you, at the top. I don't know what happened but I responded, now I am waiting for your response, would you please respond ASAP thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Doug, I am still waiting on your response.

I'm sorry, but whatever response you typed to me, it did not go though. This seems to be a periodic problem with the system. Would you please send it again?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for answering, my response was:


I have copies of my final checks which reflect my regular and accrued vacation through 12-28-12. I also have a signed copy by the HR Manager titled Notice to Employee as to Change in Relationship reflecting I was laid off effective 1-2-13

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Doug please confirm receipt of my response.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Doug it seems like this is not working - can we communicate through the e-mail instead - i would need to cancell this - it's not working

Thanks for your information, and for your patience.

Well, based on documentation that you have, you certainly have proof that you were laid off, and that proof will be acceptable to EDD in the event that your employer--or the trustee---attempt to claim that you voluntarily resigned.

Based on the facts, and the evidence you have possession of, I do not see any issue with you receiving your unemployment benefits. You appear to fully qualify.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me.

Please remember to press the smiley faces/stars on the right of your screen when we are finished with our communication so I will be credited for my time in assisting you. Kindly remember to ONLY rate my answer when you are fully satisfied. If you feel the need to rate anything less than OK, please stop and contact me with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will be happy to continue further and assist you until I am able to address your concerns to your satisfaction.

I wish you the best in 2013,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Doug for your response. One last question.

At this point the trustee has my vacation check. He told me to make a decision this weekend and let him know. Basically he want me to say I want my vacation pay which he said will result in quitting or I show up. Basically I think they are toying with me. And my decision is to respond to him saying I did not quit but was laid-off and to mail me my vacation pay. Do you feel this resolve the matter and will not affect my unemployment benefits. thank you again.


In CA the employer is obligated to pay you for accrued vacation time whether you quit, or are laid off.

Here is the dilemma you really face.

In order to qualify for unemployment, you are obligated to look for suitable work. While you were clearly laid off, and you are entitled to unemployment---the company has now, in effect, offered your job back to you. Unless you can come up with a legitimate reason not to take the position back---they will get to argue that you did not accept a reasonable offer of employment and therefore you should henceforth be denied benefits.

So if they are offering your position back---you need to re-think whether you will say no. I don;t know what kind of excuse you can come up with to justify refusing the position---but if it isn't a good one, you could lose your benefits from that point on---which in effect is from the beginning of your claim.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

Until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be credited with helping you. Would you please rate me now, based on my assistance to you in understanding the law.

I wish you the best in 2013,

LawTalk and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Hi Doug my other question to you is, regarding the trustee:

He basically told me that as far as he was concerned I am not laid off and that the day that I was not there jan. 2, 3 & 4 he mentioned that I abandoned the company. I objected to that and stated again that I was laid off. Due to the conditions under the trustee being there it's intimidating and uncomfortable and chaotic.

I was told one thing I took financial mesasures based on being laid off and now the trustee wants me back. What do you suggest?

Wow, I can't tell you whether to take the job back. Clearly, you were laid off---and you can;t abandon a position you are let go from---and despite the fact that the trustee may be a real ass, that won;t be justification enough not to take the job back.

I'm not sure what you mean by taking financial measures---other than applying for unemployment--and so I can't imagine how that might help you.

You have to seriously consider whether you will take the job offer---because if you reject it---it may well result in your unemployment claim ending.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Doug, thank you for your excellent advice.


I feel that I was mistreated by them holding my checks until Friday instead of giving them to me on Wednesday. I was not notified, I showed up at work. The trustee was not there, I had to go see the trustee at his office, which then he had me make a written statement before he would sign my paycheck. He stated I abandoned the company for three days. So my final analysis is that they toyed, lied, intimidated, unfairly accused me and that to me created a hostile, stressfull work environment, I cannot work under those conditions regardless that he wants me back, I think I am within my rights. Please advise, thank you again.

While I certainly understand your argument, and it is a reasonable one in my mind---ultimately, I'm not the one who will decide if is sufficient justification to refuse to take the position back. That decision will be made by EDD, or by the person hearing your appeal if you are denied benefits and have to appeal. The choice is yours to make---but you are taking a risk if you refuse the position.

As for a hostile environment---I know what you mean, but do be aware that under the law, there was not a hostile work environment for the following reason:

The US Supreme Court has held that harassment and hostile environment laws were not meant to create a code of civility within the workplace. The phrase “Hostile work environment" is legal terminology, and relates to discrimination which is federally prohibited—race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. Absent proof that the hostility you complain of relates to one of the prohibited acts of discrimination, then I’m afraid that you have little solid ground to stand on with regard to legal redress.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your time Doug.

My pleasure. Have a great weekend! If you have any new questions in the future, please feel free to ask for me by name in the question and I should be able to assist you.