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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13748
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I recently quit my job due to a hostile work environment.

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I recently quit my job due to a hostile work environment. I worked for this company for 6 years. I had moved into a managerial position and at that time the harassment became worse. I spoke to numerous superiors regarding my treatment and was told to "deal with it" because that is the nature of the industry. However, managers that were there "favorites" were not treated the way that I was (numerous other employees stated this to me). I do not wish to sue them unless that is my final recourse. I would like to file for unemployment while searching for another job. What are my options for filing for unemployment since I quit my job rather than being laid off or fired?
Good afternoon, thank you for your question.

You should still file for unemployment (and a determination as to eligibility cannot be made unless you file). In Georgia, it is possible to get unemployment if you can show that you quit your job for good work-connected reasons. In this case. you need to argue that you didn't simply quit, but were constructively discharged. That is, the work conditions were so intolerable , and your employer intentionally created or allowed this hostile work environment to exist so that it would compel any reasonable employee to quit. You can allege that the hostile environment became worse when you were moved into a managerial position, and although you tried to resolve it with your employer directly, it finally became so intolerable, you had no other choice but to quit.

Please let me know if you have follow-up questions.

I hope this information is helpful, even if it may not be what you want to hear. If you have follow-up questions or need additional clarification, please click reply and I will be happy to assist you further.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Regarding eligibility for unemployment:
Once I file, I know a letter is sent to the company. I was aware of this on numerous occasions with employees that were fired. The company has a policy of systematically denying all unemployment claims and I've known them to doctor files to bring to eligibility hearings to bolster their case as to why a particular employee isn't eligible for unemployment benefits. I'm concerned this could happen to me. How is a determination of eligibility determined? If I'm stating that I left due to hostile work environment but they present an array of files stating they were unhappy with my work, does that information even matter? Or is the hearing simply evaluating whether my hostile work environment claim is true?
I can't tell you what specific criteria Georgia uses when measuring what information an employer provides versus what you tell them only because such information isn't made available. I do know that they require a statement as to why you left from both the employee and employer, but I don't know how much "weight" one is given over the other. However, if your initial determination (which you usually receive in 2-3 weeks after filing) is denied, you can submit a request for an appeal.

If it goes to an appeal, it would be helpful if you had some sort of proof that you were exposed to a hostile work environment for the hearing. Do you have any written documentation between you and your employer regarding the concerns you raised (emails, letters, etc?) Are there any past or current employees of the company who witnessed the hostile work environment that can testify for you? Obviously, if your former employer is going to be dirty enough to falsify records, you need something to show the real reason you left.

If you lose on appeal, you can appeal to the 3 member panel Board of Review, which would review the decision of the hearing officer. And, if you disagree with that decision, you can then appeal to the Superior Court in the county where you worked.
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