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The Trickle Down Effect When You Ingore Your Employee Rights

What I learned while managing the prepping for unemployment appeal hearings, was no matter what they have to say after they lose their job, as an employee, exhibited the common tendency to literally ignore intolerable behaviors at work affecting them, whether personally directed at them, or just witnessing what happens to other employees. 

I get it, the first concern is self protection .. or to keep the job.  So, if that's true, the question then becomes .. how did employees in this country .. with so many employee rights, get to the point of believing it's keeping quiet that helps them keep their job .. instead of losing it through no fault of their own?   

What trickles down, or bubbles through this overwhelming tendency of subordinate employees, to remain silent, is akin to an unspoken permission to those displaying bad, or inappropriate behavior in the workplace,  to just keep on  pushing the envelope, even when the bad behavior crosses a fuzzy legal line to make the  company, literally complicit to the offenders behavior.

How does a business entity grow a culture of workplace silence?

Ummmm .. maybe subtly to create an atmosphere alive with fear, intimidation .. through use of retaliatory practices when someone does stick their head up and find the nerve to say something.

Yes, I think it's a shame when this someone can't  collect unemployment if they do quit with good cause, or get fired without any .. merely because they succumbed to the forces who though at-will employment was a synonym for indentured servitude .. or that tried and true intimidation tactic ..

Be glad you still have a job .. to which I might document why I take issue with that sort of treatment, in a well framed email ..pointed directly at one of my REASONABLE expectations for any job despite being the at will kind .. or not

Have a story to explain how employee rights  didn't  manage to connect to getting unemployment?

And Example of Employee Rights Not Connecting to Good Cause to Quit

As an employee, it's easy to forget there are federal labor laws basically providing us with the minimum baseline of protection most at-will employees should be able to expect and rely on at work.  It's also good to know if your state has it's own labor laws that may expand on the basic federal employee rights. 

Follow-up and check whether your state's limits itself to conforming to federal minimum standards, or has expanded via it's own state labor laws. (Generally speaking, a state that has expanded rights and protections will have it's own DOL or administrative agency that take and investigates employee right complaints made, hopefully with the sincere intent of preserving one's job).

The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) guarantees many of our basic employee rights, although our rights fall under the jurisdiction of multiple administrator agencies. 

In the case below, the WHD (Wage and Hour Division) would of been relevant because that's where non-exempt employees (not salaried, but paid hourly) should go before quitting, if not being paid overtime for anything over 40 hours per week.

Official complaints are sometimes not filed before an employer beats the employee to the punch an terminates them .. or somehow manages to get them to quit .. but if you know this happens, you may have a choice to make yourself.   

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulates and investigates complaints made about unsafe working conditions in multiple industries.

The Ohio unemployment decision below explains why a voluntary quit, that may of potentially been with good cause, was found not to be with good cause even if there were unsafe working conditions and a failure to pay overtime wages.   

Further, an individual is generally expected to pursue all other available options before deciding to quit employment. For example, in Peters v. Administrator (Jan. 18, 1994), Franklin CP No. 92 CVD-11-9221, unreported, the claimant quit employment because he was not paid overtime wages owed and because of an unsafe working condition.

The court held that claimant quit without just cause because the claimant had not complained strongly about the unpaid overtime, had not complained to OSHA about the unsafe working condition, and therefore, had not pursued other available options before deciding to quit.

Source:  Ohio Unemployment Law Abstract

Of course there's other employment laws giving us employee rights that you might want to first complain about .. to prove you exhausted all reasonable options to preserve your job .. at least before you quit .. or end up fired for exercising your right to file a complaint.

Talking About Work

To discuss unemployment insurance benefits objectively, one can't avoid talking about the experience of work and what happened there that led to just one individual's separation at a time.

The fact is, it's people who choose to quit a job and fire an employee for what may of seemed like good cause at the time, but afterwards, can't prove to a standard of law they met the burden of having good cause.

These posts are related to how at-will employment works before unemployment benefits become the issue.

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