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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I have worked current employer past two years as VP of Sales

Customer Question

I have worked for my current employer for the past two years as VP of Sales and Marketing. It is a small, family owned company with less than 15 employees at any given time. As part of my hiring package, I was to receive a company car for my use to drive to and from work as well as any local sales calls that were needed. There were only to be 4-5 trips a year that required overnight stay. During the interview process, I made him aware that every 6 weeks, I have to visit my doctor for IV infusion therapy and will be out of the office for 2-3 hours that day but will still take phone calls and email which he was fine with. I was to be in charge of all of sales via phone, email, internet, etc. and use my skills to grow online presence and increase sales overall. I was to receive a $50 commission per sale on top of my base salary. Sales grew rapidly and our company grew from $1.3M to $2M within the first year. He has since started taking phone calls himself and not paying commission, has taken the company car away by saying "the didn't renew the license and insurance" and has me traveling as much as 2-3 days a week, every week of the month in different markets. Recently, his wife, also an employee here, changed the employee handbook and dropped a copy on my desk and said that they couldn't find where I had signed it when I was hired. I asked if there were changes and they said no and needed me to sign it right then. I was later was told by HR that they changed the way the vacation time is calculated and I was the only one that was required to sign it. I can go on but won't. My question is whether I have any right to quit and file for unemployment while looking for another job. I have always had a job since I was 12 years old and have never had to look into unemployment but I have never had this type of work environment either. Looking for preliminary advise before deciding what to do. Any suggestions from a legal perspective would be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Eligibility for unemployment benefits is determined based on whether the claimant is unemployed "through no fault of their own." Typically when a claimant quits they will be disqualified for benefits on the ground that they voluntarily initiated their own unemployment and thus are unemployed "through fault." However, a limited exception does exist to this general rule where the claimant can prove that they quit for reasons amounting to "good cause." The thing is, "good cause" is VERY hard to establish. Since unemployment benefits are funded from tax payer dollars, the unemployment office is extremely stringent about ensuring that the people who collect truly have no other options. UI benefits are not intended to subsidize a search for better employment.

A severe cutback in pay or benefits can sometimes amount to good cause for quitting. But since good cause if judged on a case by case basis, and since the unemployment office is so militant about claimants only being approved if they are unemployed through no fault of their own, you would be taking an enormous risk by quitting. The upside would be that you no longer have to work this unfavorable job and you are able to collect UI benefits that max out at $580 per week. The downside would be that you are denied UI benefits and have no way to support yourself. Add to this the fact that studies have shown it is easier to find a job when you are already employed (it has to do with being perceived to be "in demand") and it is very rarely the prudent thing to quit with the hope of collecting unemployment until you find a new job. Though I wish I could tell you otherwise, the better course of action is to start looking for a new job now and quit only once you've secured another offer.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I just wanted to followup with you to make sure that you did not have any further questions or concerns. For some unknown reason, the experts are not always getting replies or ratings (which is how we get paid for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not yet received either. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the site administrator.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed.

Very best wishes.

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