I quit a job after 1 week, it was not the job, but now I've screwed up my unemployment.

by Dawne Willard
(Phoenix, AZ, USA)

I am a professional, owned a TV Station and worked as a Office Manager, Payroll Clerk, Customer Service Rep, and Dispatcher in previous positions. When you file for unemployment benefits weekly it asks you if you turned down any employment, so I didn't. The job that I took for 4 days was advertised as Customer Service in a Store. There was no customer service involved. I was told to mark down merchandise in the store and to time myself so that she knows how long it takes me to complete each rack. I was then asked to account for my time in between marking down merchandise. I went home after my 3rd night and created a spreadsheet that I could present to her accounting for every second of time while I was working. She would never directly talk to me but send over the other workers to ask me for the time it took me to mark down merchandise. I gave them my spreadsheet then the owner called me over and said she only needed my mark down time. I reminded her that she previously asked for an accounting of my entire day and that this would be a way she could see what I had been doing. She raised her voice demanding that I give her what she requested immediately on a blank piece of paper. This store of course was not a brand name store, it was a family owned business employing all Mexicans. No one that worked there knew what was going on with the day to day operations, one would say one thing, then another and she would say something else. I worked my butt off standing up and marking down items while I was there, taking 1 break a day and a shortened lunch in order to complete the tasks and show my value as an employee. Many of the co-workers only worked when she came in. I had been getting unemployment and now that's screwed up. I don't know what to do now. Should someone take a job just for the sake of taking a job, then have to quit cause its not the job presented to them and be sorry?


Hi Dawne,

Of course it was the job. This is a great question because it brings up an often overlooked thing about unemployment that people do not understand.

The issue is "Refusal of SUITABLE Work", not just refusal of work. All the states statutes are very similar with respect to this issue, but just like every other aspect of unemployment, how the respective state's courts interpret their statute can vary widely from state to state.

In addition some states even have specific provisions which give a person a prescribed period of time in which they can quit if they discover the
work isn't suitable.

Other states have provisions which tell you that after being on unemployment for a certain length of time you'll have to lower your standard of what is suitable. But you're asking about Arizona..pay close attention to B.

It says:

23-776. Disqualification from benefits for failure to accept suitable work; exceptions

A. An individual shall be disqualified for benefits if the department finds he has failed without cause either to apply for available, suitable work, when so directed by the employment office or the department, or to accept suitable work when offered him, or to return to his customary self-employment when so directed by the department. The disqualification shall begin with the week in which the failure occurred and shall continue for the duration of his unemployment and until he has earned wages in an amount equivalent to eight times his weekly benefit amount otherwise payable.

B. In determining whether or not work is suitable for an individual, the department shall consider the degree of risk involved to his health, safety and morals, his physical fitness and prior training, his experience and prior earnings, his length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in his customary occupation and the distance of the available work from his residence.

C. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, no work shall be deemed suitable and benefits shall not be denied under this chapter to an otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept new work under any of the following conditions:

1. If the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout or other labor dispute.

2. If the wages, hours or other conditions of the work offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the locality.

3. If as a condition of being employed the individual would be required to join a company union or to resign from or refrain from joining a bona fide labor organization.

You can read the statue covering disqualification for quitting here (opens in new window).

I've added this because your quit is considered a quit attributable to the work (required in AZ). You do have a few options you can explore, such as if the job wasn't suitable for you due to past pay, experience, training and or education or possibly the belittling treatment by the employer.

AZ make an offer on this this page for you to call if you have questions about the law. I'd take them up on it. Why don't you ask them where you might find the precedent decisions regarding your issue. I personally think ALL states should be required to make their precedent decision manual accessible to the public, after all, it is assumed that if you apply for unemployment you know the law.


The other state statutes.

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