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I reported a worker's compensation fraud that occured in my agency. Now employer is retaliating, can I quit and get unemployment benefits.

by Stressed Out

In october, 2009 I contacted the department of labor to report a worker's compensation fraud scam in our agency. The special investigator contacted my supervisor on 7 December. That same afternoon my employer started harrassing me in the form of disciplinary action for "minor" infractions that I have never been warned or counseleled about prior to this. The following week they gave me a notice of suspension for being "AWOL" on a day that I had an FMLA absence. The workplace is unbearable. I have gone to the union and they aren't really interested in doing much to help me. I work for the federal government. I have a performance evaluation from 5 months ago that says I am a "role model" and I received a $750 bonus. Now, suddently, I am a worthless employee. I know this is pure retaliation because someone is getting ready to lose their job over the worker's compensation fraud. Keep in mind my entire office is black except for me and the fraud was committed as a "joint endeavor" by all of the blacks in my office. They want to fire me to get rid of me, so they are nitpicking and creating a work environment that I can not tolerate. I have FMLA for IBS and the stress is killing me, physically and mentally. What can I do? I have worked for the federal government for over 9 years with no incidences of poor performance or absenteeism prior to this. Do you think I would win an unemployment claim if I quit? I can not take anymore of this stress.

Hi Stressed Out,

I've removed your name and only left the state because it
has has come to my attention that employers may use information they find here in "hiring decisions". Everyone should use a non-identifiable screen name.

You need to contact a lawyer now. You became a member of a protected class when you blew the whistle. Now the employer is behaving illegally by harassing you .. whomever that might be. I think you need to file another complaint with the Department of Labor .. for the retaliation brought about by your first complaint. This is illegal and highly frowned upon, simply because is discourages people from reporting improprieties when something is wrong.
You should know you are protected by the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act now.

But you are here on an unemployment website asking if you can quit and collect.

The weird part about unemployment is that they often deny unemployment first, forcing people to prove their retaliation claims at a hearing .. the more information and documentation you can provide when you apply .. the less easily they can ignore "what you say". They tend to focus on employer documentation for misconduct or the absence of proof that quits were for good cause.

Additionally, someone in your position is probably what makes lawyers drool with anticipation because of what you did .. blowing the whistle .. It gives them ammo for a "SETTLEMENT" regarding the retaliation, which it sounds like you will be able to prove easily.

Unemployment benefits after all this .. becomes an easy afterthought and it would be a very stupid employer who even attempted to fight your benefits.

But like I said in the beginning .. you need to tell your story to a lawyer .. they will listen!

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