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Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for no reason...and am not a documented employee?

by Anonymous

I have been employed by a food service business for 1.5 years. I recently informed them that I would need a schedule of reduced hours in order to pursue a college degree. My new, part-time schedule was agreed upon by the business owners. They pay all of their part-time employees and undocumented employees in cash. I was formerly a full-time, salaried, documented employee. The owner (verbally) informed me that as a part-time employee I would be paid in cash.

We recently came under scrutiny from a government inspection agency, as the business is selling wholesale products to restaurants without proper inspections/licenses. In my position I was required to provide products to restaurants and was unaware of the legalities; the inspection agency contacted me about our business. The owner instructed me to destroy evidence of any wholesale accounts/sales and I did so, fearing retaliation.

Immediately afterwards I went through a 3-4 week period where her behavior towards me was very threatening and accusatory, she cursed at me on several occasions and accused me of having an "attitude." I am sure that nothing about my behavior changed - I continued fulfilling my duties as directed. She became excessively critical but I continued to do my job in the normal fashion. I didn't know what else to do!

When I came in to work today the other owner threw an envelope on the table, took my business key and told me to get out because I was fired. He said "Don't be surprised, and don't make me tell you why. You already no why." He told me to leave, so I left.

There were
no written reports of misconduct prior to this day, there was no paperwork given to me when I was fired and my final paycheck was an envelope of cash. My last payroll check was on May 20, 2009...but after that I am assume I was removed from payroll by the owner. What can I do if my employer has no record of me?

Holy Smoke. I don't even know where to begin with what what appears to be wrong with this picture.

How about with the fact that at the point you went from a salaried full-time employee to a part-time cash under the table employee it was you who asked for the reduction in hour to attend college. You didn't say what state you are in, but this could disqualify you if the employer ceased your employment "on the record" at this time.

I think you just need to file for unemployment, tell the state you were fired and exactly what the employer said. It will be the truth after all. If the employer protest by saying you quit on May 9 to attend school .. let 'em have it. Just tell the truth.

When and if it comes out that they are paying cash under the table to their part-tiime help .. they'll really have something to be concerned about .. as far as the government goes.

Anyway, that's how I'd handle it. I would be completely honest to avoid any possibility of a fraud issue.

I'd say more about the unemployment and what might happen if you will be attending college, but I need to know what state you're in.

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