Question: I believe that I may be fired next week for “cause,” or asked to resign. The reason is allegations of sexual harassment and racial remarks I have been accused of making.
If I am fired for “cause,” or if I resign, can I collect unemployment compensation?
Wantagh, New York
Answer: Mike, the law in New York is like the law in most other states: If you are fired for a good reason, such as the misconduct you are accused of, or if you voluntarily resign, you are not entitled to collect unemployment benefits.
However, you may be entitled to collect unemployment benefits in certain events:
a. If you claim you did not do as you are accused, and can convince the Unemployment Board in New York that you are innocent of the allegations.
b. If your employer agrees not to contest your application for unemployment benefits.
c. If you claim that you were unfairly coerced to resign, under threat of ruin of your reputation, and so your resignation was not really “voluntary,” you may be successful in your quest to collect.
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As you’ve no doubt learned, it never “pays” to be harassing or bigoted, or to sound like that. We all must learn to live with each other, no matter how different. I am not a “judge” or “jury” in your case, and every person is innocent until proven guilty, and so I will not pass judgment. But I do know that you will no doubt be 200% careful in the future to avoid such allegations against you.
Hope this helps.
Best, Al Sklover
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© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.