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Looking for another job elsewhere

by Just Wants Out!
(Ohio)

I work in a very toxic environment. There is constant gossip, bickering, and finger-pointing. To make matters worse, we are hurting in other ways as well - within the past 6 months we fired our receptionist for doing work for a competitor, had one of our key people out on maternity leave, and had our financial manager working from home to avoid the onslaught of calls from vendor's looking for payment on past due accounts. As a result of this, no one really knows what they're expected to do, because they're filling the holes of all these missing employees (which we never have had job descriptions to begin with).


Company morale has taken a massive downfall - customer's are upset with product quality because our employees are being pushed to fill orders faster so we can make more money, salaried employees are angry with workload expectations and are expected to be accessible at all hours of the night.

As a result of the poor morale, the office manager has had one-on-one meetings with each of us to figure out what's going on. During our meeting, I confronted her with many issues I am unhappy with - the toxic company culture, the lack of job descriptions, the constant addition of "little jobs" handed to me by other employees who can't handle their workload or who aren't in the office, and false promises from my boss - who promised an incentive bonus program that I still have not seen. My manager tells me that I am to blame - that I'm my own worst enemy because I am a "bleeding heart" and will help out where I'm needed. She feels I've taken on too many things. I told her that I'm unhappy with what I'm currently doing here, and that I'm confused as to what my next step should be. She offered me the possibility of a new position that would be opening up soon, with
the same pay and benefits, however within the week, they hired someone else internally to do it.

I have been looking for a new job for the past year -- however we are currently the second rated county in unemployment in Ohio and the job market is fierce. I have been on various interviews after work hours, but nothing has panned out. This week I got a call-back to interview during work hours. It's an opportunity I can't turn down! I hate lying to my employer and I am curious what I should tell them.

If I tell them that I have an interview elsewhere, can they fire me on those grounds? If they do fire me for looking for work elsewhere, would I still be able to collect unemployment? All-in-All I have been an excellent employee, doing anything they've asked of me and bending over backwards to fill these empty holes.

Please advise. As an at-will employee, am I allowed to openly interview elsewhere or will this result in a justifiable firing by my employer which will deny me my right to unemployment?


Hi Just Wants Out,

I've got to ask you something. Do you not have PTO accrued? Is there some kind of company rule that forbids taking time off for personal reasons without revealing the details? Why do you feel compelled to reveal to your employer the specific nature of what you will be doing?

Here's my take on your situation. If you feel compelled to tell the employer "why" you need the time off and they fire you because of the reason .. it will be found to be lacking the element of misconduct .. plain and simple.

But let me suggest another possible scenario .. you tell the employer why you need the time off and they say "No, you cannot have the time off" .. What do you do? Quit? or try to rearrange the time of your interview?

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Similar Situation - Seeking Employment After Work Hours
by: Anonymous

I was terminated from a 13 month employment for two reasons given 1)interviewing with a law firm after work hours, and 2) alleging I had accessed Facebook during workhours. This firm used intimidation tactics during the meeting that i thought was for a salary increase after a commendable one year work evaluation. They new the name of the law firm I interviewed with and even stated the name of another company they believed I interviewed with(I looked up a company name to order employment records -- part of my job duties). The Facebook allegation is unwarranted because their is absolutely nothing in their policy manual that specifically states you cannot look on Facebook (it only says to minimize your use during workhours). I could count on one hand the times I looked at Facebook and those times (that I cannot even recall) were probably during my lunch house---which I took sporadically if at all due to my work load. I can tell you this, an employment attorney did contact me and told me, "don't work through lunches or work more hours than alloted unless you inform your attorney in writing".





Hi,

I guess I'm confused about what the employment attorney told you not to do, has to do with why you were terminated..

But I'm not about whether the discharge was for misconduct connected with the work if you can prove the facebook thing wasn't an emphatic rule against it, and that there are no prior warnings to show you had been warned about it before you were terminated.

As for looking for another job .. if that even came close to being misconduct .. then we'd could all be one employer's chattel or indentured servant for the rest of our life.

Chris

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Put in Two week notice then fired
by: Anonymous

I put in my two week notice, then I was fired the same day. I applied for unemployment benefits until I started my new job, I was denied because the company told them I quit.
Now, how is it that I can't draw unemployment benefits? I was FIRED.



Hi,

Depending on the state, you may have a case for one or two weeks of unemployment benefits (depends on if your state has a required 1 week waiting period.)

Appeal. When we give notice and the employer chooses to terminate immediately, it should be seen without good cause, but it in no way covers the time after your resignation date.

After that point you should again be employed. Some states do have provisions though that may make further benefits possible if you can prove you had a firm offer of work and for some reason .. it fell through.

Chris

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Good Cause - The unemployment department has to agree.
by: Chris - (webmaster:)

Hi again,

Looking for new work is not misconduct in and of itself ..

You have stated the working conditions are intolerable .. that you have made efforts with the employer to correct or improve the working conditions and they have not implemented any meaningful change to address the conditions.

"Ohio law defines "just cause" for a quit or discharge as whether the action taken was what an ordinary person would do under similar circumstances."

This is what Ohio uses as their definition for just cause. It's easy to see that the details of a situation have to be examined to apply this very general statement.

You are reasonably seeking other work. If they fire you for requesting earned time-off for an interview. You'll get unemployment because that's an unreasonable reaction. We are at will employees .. not indentured servants.

If they deny you time off to interview .. you'll have to make a choice. Take the time off anyway and risk being fired for insubordination or quit.

In either case unemployment benefits will be a battle based on the "specific employment situation".

Insubordination is tough .. because we are expected to comply with an employers rules and directives, but if the employer can be shown to be acting in an unreasonable way it adds weight to our argument that what the employer called insubordination was truthfully a reasonable reaction that anyone may have.

If the standard question applied is "would a reasonable or ordinary person in the same situation .. do the same, it follows that the Unemployment department may often times have to decide if the situation was really a quit or discharge. In other words, who made the move that caused the separation.

Your worries about a two week notice not being enough time for the employer .. If you feel compelled to accept this responsibility .. that's your personal call.

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Response
by: Anonymous

We are required to request a paid personal day at least two months in advance. If you're requesting a day on short notice, they expect a reason and usually will give you a hard time about taking the day off. In fact, they normally straight up deny you the day off.

We all work very specialized jobs here. Sick days and personal days are not really time off -- as you usually end up working from home, because something comes up while you're gone that requires your attention. Everything is always an "emergency" (which is why I want out). In fact, we are all equipped with Blackberry's so that they can get in touch with us at all hours of the night. I want to leave my work at work, and have a personal life again!

I suppose I feel compelled to tell them that I am interviewing elsewhere so that they can prepare themselves. I am the only person who knows how to perform my job - as I taught myself how to use the software when the position was first created. In fact, I worked hand-in-hand with the programmer to get the software to do what we needed it to do.

When I give my two weeks notice, I don't think it will be enough time for them to find a new employee and have me train them to take over the position.





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