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Can I collect unemployment in NJ if I voluntarily quit due to difficulty meeting the workload expectations?

by Anonymous
(New Jersey)

Question: Can I collect unemployment in NJ if I voluntarily quit due to difficulty meeting the workload expectations?

The reason why I chose to separate from the company in October 2008 is because I was presented information that I was not meeting satisfactory work performance. My first day on the job was June 2, 2008. On October 13, 2008, the just hired Purchasing Manager who was employed in late August 2008 and the HR Director called me to an unexpected meeting. The meeting was to tell me that I was not meeting minimum expectations for satisfactory work performance. I was given a list of what my supervisor thought were my "challenges" without any consideration for situations that are out of my control. I was given a "performance improvement plan" with an extensive list of items to complete in 3 weeks on top of my already burdened workload and a quarterly performance management plan that I had to meet by December 2008. The consequences of not meeting the satisfaction of my manager were further disciplinary action up to and including discharge. The procurement department was understaffed and has gone through many changes because of low employee retention and the Company bankruptcy. Most of the members of the department, including my supervisor, were new employees. Prior to the meeting, my supervisor has never given adequate training, direction or any form of supervisor to employee communication in order for me to meet the expectation she requires as the new manager, nor has she made any effort to contribute to diminish the workload. Some of the things I had to deal with was ruined or near ruined business relationships because vendors were consistently not being paid on time or was still owed money due to the bankruptcy, and a back log of unpaid invoices dating back to 2007 that I had to help reconcile. I have made many suggestions to bring someone else on board, a purchasing clerk or a temp person to work on the paperwork to lighten the workload, but those requests have been denied. As a result, I had many other responsibilities in this position other than buying material, and it was difficult for me to consistently meet ALL of my job responsibilities.

In the procurement department, my workload was never complete no matter how much effort and time I put in each day, and with such an understaffed department, it became too stressful and burdensome. The meeting with my manager and the HR director was a slap in the face, especially to tell me that I was not meeting minimum expectations. I have worked with the company since June 2, 2008. I believe if my efforts were completely unsatisfactory, my first supervisor, who worked with the company for 5 years, would have fired me before my new supervisor started her employment in late August 2008. The meeting with the new supervisor and HR was the last straw for me, and for my peace of mind and feeling like I done all I could to deal with the situations, I decided that it was best that I left. In addition, I have kept in touch with my first supervisor, and I have a recommendation from her praising me for my work
efforts and I also have an e-mail from her apologizing to me for bringing me into a hostile work environment. Do you think that I have grounds for collecting unemployment due to the cause attributable to the workload?


Hi Anonymous,
I suppose it's a possibility, but fear of getting fired wouldn't be my first choice for a reason to quit. It's called a quit in anticipation of discharge which is almost always disqaulifying because all efforts to preserve the employment .. weren't exhausted.

At least, this is what I used to tell employers would be the argument at the hearing.

This is vs. a quit in lieu of discharge which should always be adjudicated as a discharge (a good thing when you understand why you don't want the burden of quitting.) by the unemployment department .. unless your resignation letter sounds like you're grateful for the opportunity the employer gave you..

Fact is, if getting benefits is important to a person and they are simply incapable of fulfilling the expectations of a job, quitting because you think the employer will eventually fire you anyway .. is like signaling you gave up .. or admitted the job wasn't right for you.

Giving up isn't what I would call the fault of the employer .. it's a personal decision.

My concern for you is precisely this. You quit when confronted with a performance review.

It would have been better to document your reasons as to why the discipline was not justified... for st least the misconduct the employer has to prove if they fire you.

When you quit, you lock in who gets the burden and become the one to prove good cause for quitting.

Being disciplined by an employer is rarely going to be good cause for quitting.

You did however, address understaffing problems and offered possible solutions to getting the job done and the employer did not do anything except to respond with a performance improvement plan, which you perceived correctly to put your job in jeopardy.

Focusing on the intolerable working conditions as the real reason for your inability to do your job to the employer's expectations as a response to the performance review is called counter documenting .. which helps to make the truth known .. as provable when in the wisdom of an employer .. you get fired for poor performance.

Does it hurt a resume to be fired? Yes, but half of America seems to be getting fired for whatever reason an employer can think up.

I am by no means saying this will get you unemployment, but it is important to understand that a tight appeal should zero in on the weaknesses of the other side and the strengths of yours...per statutes.

And often times, employers exhibiting a conscience will give you a choice .. to resign in lieu of being terminated.

Just be sure your resignation letter is a factual account of why you are choosing to quit .. instead of being fired and under what circumstances.

New Jersey requires an unemployed person wishing to be represented at an examiner tribunal hearing to hire a lawyer.

When you think you need to be represented, contact me for a referral to a New Jersey Unemployment Lawyer.

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