“I resigned under unusual circumstances – did I just throw away any chance for unemployment compensation?”

Question: I work at a law firm which has multiple locations. I requested to be transferred to a different office so that I could move back to my hometown and still work for the company. But, they said they would only allow me to relocate to the desired office for one month, and then I would be finished working with the company.

Not knowing what else to do, I agreed to this and they requested my letter of resignation. I stated on there that my last day would be December 31, 2008.

Can you please advise if I would be eligible for unemployment compensation after that date, or did I just throw away any chance of that out the window once I submitted my resignation? Thanks so much.

A Blog Subscriber
Location Unknown

Answer: I would not say you have definitely “thrown out the window” any chance of eligibility for unemployment compensation, but you may have hurt your chances. No matter what, I think you should give it your best try. The analysis involves several steps. Read on . . .

First, let’s start with your unemployment compensation application. Of course, you must be truthful in this process. In most states, you have to indicate the reason you are no longer employed, often by checking the appropriate box, and there is usually one for “Other.” I would suggest you consider inserting “resignation requested” in that “Other” box, which is technically true.

Second, if you are contacted by a representative from your state’s unemployment office, or are asked to come in for an interview, I suggest you tell them, truthfully, that you were offered a one-month job in the office, but were told you must leave after that one month, and must resign. That might suffice to qualify you.

Third, in most states, unemployment compensation officials contact your last employer to ask them if they oppose, or “contest,” your application for benefits. You have every right to contact them first, and ask them not to do so.

Fourth, understand that, what often determines your eligibility for unemployment benefits is the random choice of which clerk or examiner reviews your application. Where, as here, you were offered a one-month job, and required to resign to get that job, I think you have a good chance, and that you should do your best, under the circumstances.

Fifth, even if you are denied unemployment benefits, I think you should file an appeal of the denial. Several years ago I met an administrative judge who handles unemployment appeals. He told me that he often overturns initial denials where the circumstances call for it. So long as your application and all answers you give are truthful, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Thanks for writing. Hope you enjoy the blog!!! If this was helpful, I ask one favor in return: tell your friends about us.

Best, Al Sklover

P.S.: When leaving employment – for any reason – ALWAYS ask to be paid for Accrued But Unused Vacation. Use our “Model Letter Requesting Payment for Accrued but Unused Vacation – with 12 Great Reasons.” It shows you “What to  Say and How to Say It.”™ To get your copy, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!

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