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Can you go to school full time and get unemployment in Tx?

by Megan
(Dallas, TX)

I have worked in the same field for 12 years, and there are currently NO jobs available in that field where I live. I can't afford to move elsewhere at this time either. Long story short, I do not know from day to day if I will still have a job. My boss was arrested 2 weeks ago and it looks like he will be going to jail. No one knows what will happen to the business. We all believe is dangerous, and have believed this for some time. I have my full GI bill to go to school. I would love to go back to school full time, but cannot afford to unless I get unemployment. Am I allowed to quit since even the police have deemed him as dangerous, enroll in school full time, and get unemployment? Or if I lose my job due to him will I be able to get unemployment and be a full-time student? I just don't want to be in a lose-lose situation.

Hi Megan,

I'd hang loose for a bit before I quit.

Since you do have options for using your GI bill call the Texas employment department and ask about training benefits.

School can always affect whether you get and or can retain unemployment benefits.

Full-time school would require being approved for training benefits, so I think that's where you should start before you up and quit .. if your boss is a "physical danger" to you it could be with good cause. If it is a moral issue, it could be with good cause.

Here's the TX precedent manual.

Your potential issues as I see it are a Voluntary quit w/ good cause and Able and Available due to full time attendance at school.

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Feb 25, 2010
me again
by: Megan

We have only stayed the last couple weeks while we were trying to find other work, as we all have families. There was another dr working with us until he quit today. We also had to be here to be questioned several times in the last two weeks by police and the state board. None of us want to stay, we just haven't been able to find other jobs, so we feel helpless. We thought about going the legal route, and none of us has a problem with that, we just didn't know how to go about that. All the problems with the employer have come up just in the last few weeks. Yes, his wife runs the office.

I do agree, you all need to talk to an attorney .. threatening you with termination for not working with a doctor who has been court ordered not to practice doesn't even begin to make sense ..

I think you would get unemployment benefits, but due to all the legal issues including the fact that you have all been "questioned" you need to talk to a lawyer .. I'd start with an employment attorney .. and let them take it from there.

Feb 25, 2010
Megan here again
by: Megan

It is a medical setting and he is the dr, so we assist him in all sorts of ways. He became verbally and mentally abusive at work towards us all, and patients. He was also sexually harrasing some co-workers. He also hit his wife at work. He was involuntarily checked into a mental health facility and checked himself out. He then threatened us all with jobs and other random things. He was then arrested for possession and for assault and was put in a a mental ward to be evaluated. He's been there for two weeks, and we were told by the medical board (who is investigating) and the police (who are investigating) he cannot return to work until they conclude their investigations. They haven't. His wife told us we all have to work with him when he comes back next week, or we are fired. It just keeps getting worse and worse. I don't want to lose my job, but I don't want to break the law either. I'm not even sure what KIND of lawyer to consult.


An employment lawyer .. talk to an employment lawyer.

I would say any reasonable person would not continue working for such a person .. When someone is asked to do something illegal or immoral by an employer .. and they can prove it .. they have good cause to quit. In your case it doesn't sound like it will be too hard to do. Also, if a person feels threatened by an employer .. they may be abler to establish good cause for quitting if their story is compelling enough.

And just because quitting and getting unemployment is difficult and it's best to err on the side of caution ..

And just so nobody gets the wrong idea .. if an employer asks you to do something illegal .. like maybe something in violation of OSHA .. you need to report it to an agency that enforces the laws first .. then you are protected against any act of retaliation by virtue of the the "whistleblower act" .. reporting creates documentation.

If you personally saw this Dr. hit his wife at work and he has been arrested for possession and will be defying court orders to work .. I don't think you will have any problem getting unemployment benefits .. ..

I've got a question though .. why are you all still working for the lunatic? And is his wife your boss?

Sounds like some weird circus you work at. It may be that I'm being extremely cautious today .. because I saw the report last night about the doctor in, Delaware, I believe, who has been allegedly molesting young children for years .. but what really threw me was the part about how peers have a silent code to ignore and protect.

Feb 24, 2010
it's me again
by: Megan

I found out later today he is coming back to work in two weeks, even though he was told it is illegal while he is being investigated. We were told we would be fired if we don't work with him. What do I do now? If it is illegal for him to come back, isn't it illegal for me to work under him during that time?

I still suggest you read the precedent manual and if that fails to produce an answer .. I think you need to ask a lawyer the question.

I just don't have enough information to answer you affirmatively one way or the other. I only know what I would personally do, but you and I are talking about your ability to get unemployment benefits not mine .. and we're talking about TX to boot. Very Employer friendly state.

I guess I'll ask if whatever he is doing that is illegal and has been ordered to stay away from the business .. to do with the business.

If he fired you .. it would probably be the best possible scenario... by the way I was confused by the statement .. "we were told if we don't work with him we would be fired" .. what do you mean by "work with him"?

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