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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19173
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I am considering applying benefits although I quit my job. I

Customer Question

I am considering applying for unemployment benefits although I quit my job. I was a program director at a small nonprofit organization for 5 years. A new Executive Director started a few months ago and within a couple of weeks it became apparent to me and my now former colleagues that he seemed intent on forcing me out of my job. He was bullying, demeaning, and unreasonably demanding, and within 3 weeks of starting at the organization, he wrote a letter regarding my "insubordination" to the board of directors. And then he refused to give me a copy of the letter. No matter what, I was never able to satisfy his demands and I knew I had to go. I tried to reach out to the board (we have no HR person on staff) for their support or intervention. They said we think you're doing a great job but we can't interfere between an ED and his staff. Besides a couple of incidents that my colleagues witnessed, and of course my own testimony, I have no supporting documentation of the bullying and unreaso
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You can certainly attempt a filing, but the rule on being about to quit and get unemployment is that you have to have a situation so severe at work that any reasonable person would leave the employment. This is a sliding scale depending on the strength of your job market.

Now, it seems that you have a number of incidents to point to, but the state is also going to want to know that you did everything you could to stay, including confronting the perpetrator and essentially explaining that this sort of continued treatment would result in your having to quit.

Without that sort of evidence though (and your own statement is some evidence), you would have to make some sort of allegation of discrimination due to your race, religion, gender, age, disability or recent FMLA use.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did "confront" my supervisor and tell him that I felt he was creating a hostile and adversarial environment. And that I believed his intent was to force me to quit. Will my colleagues' statements of harassing behavior (they have said they would be glad to testify, and yes, they no longer work there), plus his refusing to provide me with the letter he sent to the board, help support my case?
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

The refusal to send the letter, while not illegal, is certainly another example of the behavior and the statements of other employees would be very supportive of your claim.

Then the issue will come down to whether or not the state believes it was reasonable to leave the employment under those circumstances. I won't lie to you here, these are difficult to win because the default is that resignation means disqualification. You bear the burden of proof to get the benefit, but you certain have the facts to support the argument and if you can get those statements you'll also have the evidence to support your position.