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Change in Company Ownership resulting in layoffs, terminations, voluntary quits

by Ari
(California )

I am in California and have been working for this company for 3 years. It was known for the last 5 months that the company was in a transition and the owners would be selling. We were informed that this would result in some people getting terminated or people voluntarily leaving due to the changes. Since being hired 3 years ago I had been working in a specific department in the company. They had terminated an employee and told me that I would be "filling in" until they figured things out. I was then expected to work two different positions resulting in more work than I could handle. I was falling behind on my tasks and had been vocal to my manager and even to the owners that it was too much work for me. My other concern was the fact that they did not offer additional compensation for the additional work. I understand that I should not have agreed to perform this additional work, but I was hopeful and reassured that as soon as the transaction was complete(new owner officially owns the business) I would be offered the appropriate compensation. I scheduled a meeting with the (new) owner and voiced my concern with the fact that I was expected to do the additional work (which she stated herself that I was not keeping up with) for the last 5 months and was not offered any compensation. She reassured me that as soon as the transaction was complete I would receive a new offer- but no back pay.

For the last 3 months I have been actively looking for a new job (while employed). Not only did all of the other factors play a role in this decision, but I was also commuting over 100 miles a day to this job and I decided that it was not worth it. Unfortunately, searching and interviewing for jobs in a city that is over 50 miles away is quite difficult, especially if you are not able to take any days/hours off due to the amount of work.

I was terminated from the old company(old owners), and offered a new position with the new company(new owners). The offer letter stated that I would be working the two positions and the compensation would stay the same.

This is not what I had discussed with the new owner and was disappointed that they did not respect or understand my concerns and needs as an employee. From there, I accepted their termination through email. I know this is quite a bit of information, but what I want to know is that since the old company was the one terminating me is that enough proof to the Unemployment Dept for eligibility? I was recently denied my claim due to some of my answers during the telephone interview. Do you think I should even bother appealing? Any advise would
be much appreciated!

Being Terminated For Something Not Misconduct And Refusing Continuing Suitable Work

I do understand why employees are disappointed by employers who seem to not respect, or follow through to show concern and understanding about thew dilemmas created for employees when a company transitions from owner to another.

However, to take a former employee's feeling out of the picture, I do so for one reason, so moving forward I might help them focus objectively on why things happened the way they did, so they can see if they have a path forward, with a good argument for an unemployment appeal.

The title for my answer is shorthand for an actual working strategy that falls in line with states who deny benefits for refusing an offer of suitable work, even if that offer is refused prior to filing a claim for what is, an actual lack of work claim that would be charged to the outgoing employer.

California is a state that denies benefits, if you refuse suitable work prior to filing a claim.

So, the problem (issue) that caused your denial .. is the presumption by the EDD that your refusal of the job you had been doing (and you did accept those new duties months before) was a decision that didn't make sense.

However, you mentioned at least one good reason for why I myself would appeal this denial.

"but I was hopeful and reassured that as soon as the transaction was complete(new owner officially owns the business) I would be offered the appropriate compensation."

And one other thing, I would encourage you to think of as more of a secondary reason to tge factors lending themselves to what makes suitable work, unsuitable is, "I was falling behind on my tasks and had been vocal to my manager and even to the owners that it was too much work for me."

Unless of course you did more than just talk about it with the old, or new employer and documented your struggle.

In case I blabbed so much to cover up what I think about appealing.

Yes .. I would appeal .. but then again, I would of already made winning easier on myself to document conversations .. such as the new employer offering me an increased compensation rate to do both those job as one after the transition was completed.

The burden of proof for refusing a seemingly suitable offer of work, is assigned to you.

Documentation previously created, to prove those moments happened while still employed, is what help a moving party shift the burden of fault, over to the non-moving party during a hearing.

In other words .. I'd really like to hear .. you were in the habit of following up off the record conversations .. with emails to give your side of the story .. weight on the hearing record.

All the best,


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