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legalgems
legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 10484
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I live and work in the Commonwealth of and I have a question

Customer Question

I live and work in the Commonwealth of Virginia and I have a question about my civil rights as well as rights I have as an employee. The owner/boss logged in on my computer as me after hours, wrote an email from my work email account, pretended to be me in the body of the email and then signed my name at the end because he did't want to disclose the he was the person sending the email. I carefully asked him about it and he used tactics to make me feel inferior to him and then he met with everyone else in the office followed by all of them ostracizing me. What legal advice can be offered to me regarding this situation?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: I live and work in the Commonwealth of Virginia and I have a question about my civil rights as well as rights I have as an employee. The owner/boss logged in on my computer as me after hours, wrote an email from my work email account, pretended to be me in the body of the email and then signed my name at the end because he did't want to disclose the he was the person sending the email. I carefully asked him about it and he used tactics to make me feel inferior to him and then he met with everyone else in the office followed by all of them ostracizing me. What legal advice can be offered to me regarding this situation?
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: Part time
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  legalgems replied 2 months ago.

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

Expert:  legalgems replied 2 months ago.

I am very sorry about this.

I could not locate case law in VA but other state cases can be used as persuasive argument (versus binding precedent) particularly when that state's case law has not addressed the issue.

A criminal impersonation statute "prohibits persons from impersonating someone “in such assumed character with intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another.” People v Golb, 23 N.Y.3d 455, 466 (N.Y. 2014).

VA legislature currently has a bill pending re: digital impersonation:

https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?171+cab+SC10119SB1480+SBREF

If a person's civil rights is violated at work (see here for examples) the employee can sue for actual damages and exemplary damages (ie punitive damages designed to punish the defendant).

Also please see:

https://www.va.gov/ORM/docs/2015_SECVA_EEO_Diversity_and_Inclusion_No_FEAR_Whistleblower_Rights_Protection_Policy_Statement.pdf

Further questions? Please post here to continue the chat.

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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I am considering quitting and filing for unemployment, but beforehand, I want to make sure this is a justifiable reason to quit and still collect unemployment. Recently, I told my employer that I am looking for full time employment with benefits--as I currently have no benefits. They wrote me a nice letter of reference, and I believe this should show that I have been a good worker--hopefully, not leaving any reason for them to contest my request for unemployment.
Expert:  legalgems replied 2 months ago.

Unemployment claims will be denied if the employee quits, unless the employee successfully appeals it by arguing hostile work environment by proving discrimination.

Choosing to leave for benefits is unfortunately not relevant- if successive employment is not obtained then the voluntary termination of the prior employment would be grounds for a denial.

In order to get benefits one must prove they were:

1. laid off

2. fired

3. quit with good cause

please see:

http://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed/benefits-information/benefits-eligibility

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I am letting you know I already told them a couple of months ago that I am looking for a FT job with benefits. I had not planned to quit for that reason--I planned to stay there until I find FT employment, however, this incident has changed how I am being treated at work. I now feel that my civil rights are being violated and when I told them I feel I have been wronged, they have started bullying me and ostracizing me from other workers by meeting with my co-workers to discuss my incident. My question is, do I have reasonable cause to quit and then hopefully collect unemployment while I look for another job?
Expert:  legalgems replied 2 months ago.

I cannot give legal advice and it would not be fair to make an opinion without reviewing the facts in the entirety; the idea is that in order to obtain unemployment benefits the employee must prove that the voluntary termination was for good cause. So any discrimination needs to be well documented and preferably also have witnesses.

If discrimination can be proven then generally that allows an employee to resign and then collect unemployment benefits because that is for cause.

Expert:  legalgems replied 1 month ago.

Hello again; just checking in to see how things worked out;

If you have no further questions a positive rating is most appreciated (at no additional cost to you) and allows the site to credit my account for the time spent assisting you!

if you have further questions please don't hesitate to reach out to me here on Just Answerand I will do my best to get you the requested information.
Thanks!

The above information is for educational purposes only. A consultation with a private attorney is recommended so they can apply the law to your specific facts, and suggest the best course of action. An attorney can be located here:
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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi. I am sorry to be so long getting back with you but now this employer has told me they are laying me off due to business debt and told me my last day will be Wednesday September 20th. I have asked for a letter of termination with the reason stated in the termination letter and they stated they will give me a letter when I leave (on Sept. 20th). This is a verbal promise only, but past employees have been told similar things and then the employer did not follow through on his promise. Do you recommend that I ask for the letter of termination now--stating the last day will be September 20th? If I request this, they will most likely suggest that I am causing trouble and will tell me to leave immediately and then tell unemployment office that I was hostile or something (this has been used on employees in the past) and they had to terminate me on the spot. How do I protect myself in this situation since I am not actually unemployed yet and don't want to do anything to be fired?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I am fairly sure the reasoning to lay me off isn't truly due to debt, but is most likely due to the previous incident where I questioned the doctor for impersonating and signing my name to an email at work--they view me as a threat now and want me gone.