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Michigan


(warren, mi)

Worked 3 years for a company which closed February 13, 2009. The next day, a new company "temporarily" hired everyone from the old company on, in an effort to get the business that we had at the first company. In April 2009 I still didn't have a position with this new company. I was told on hiring day (which was a mass hiring of about 50 people) that my salary and benefits would be matched, which is wasn't. I repeatedly asked for something to do, a job, anything... and nothing. Finally HR told me that I could take a lay off if I wanted and since I had been lied to before by them I asked for the layoff notice in writing, along with something stating that my unemployment benefits would be allowed, etc. So they gave me a letter stating that "Due to economic conditions, my last day would be April 10". It also said that I am "eligible to apply for unemployment benefits" and that the company "will not dispute my unemployment application". On my last day, my boss asked me what I was going to do with my time off, and I responded that I might go to school. Fast forward to September 2009, and I receive a letter from the state saying that I quit my job to go to school and that I may owe back all of the unemployment that I have received thus far. I still have the letter from the HR department, and I don't know the best way to proceed. I don't want an interruption in my payments. Any advice? Thank you so much in advance!



Answer:

I have to ask a question. Are you going to school?

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Sep 21, 2009
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Good news ( I hope)
by: Kristina

Well, it APPEARS that everything is being straightened out. It took a couple of faxes and phone calls to my senator and state representative and being an inconvenience to the company that I worked for. A couple of trips to Kinkos and a lot of phone calls later... I have finally been assured (partly in writing) by all parties that it has been corrected in the UI system.

We will see when I call in to certify tonight. I will let you know how it goes.


Kristina,

Sometimes that's all we have after we've bent ourselves into a pretzel .. hope that everyone else did what they actually said they were going to do:)

Let everyone know the outcome:)

Chris


Sep 19, 2009
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Glad
by: Kristina

It's good to know that someone out there understands what I am trying to deal with here. I could lose my house because of this whole thing and it just makes me sick. I actually believe that the woman who reported me did it maliciously. I was one of maybe 5 office workers, and her not knowing that I was laid off just isn't realistic (she was my boss).

Anyway, I did call my state representative on Friday to ask for assistance with the Unemployment office. I also called the mayor's office, since this could all make for another foreclosure in his city. I haven't received a return call yet from either office and wasn't sure if they actually call people like myself back or not.

I'll keep at it and update you when it's all said and done. My only hope is that someone else can benefit from reading this :)

Thanks again.


Hi Kristina,

I am so glad to hear that you are taking action.

Sometimes .. if you look real hard on a state website, you might find a process to complain about the "process" or a state employee who was rude .. etc. But you have to look HARD.

We are more likely to find that "Report Unemployment Fraud" button which allows anyone to report fraud "Anonymously".

I have had a number of emails from people, who after trying to deal with the unemployment dept., called their state representatives, senators .. and even the governors office .. Where else can they go?? Some have even had very positive results by doing so.

So I will be very interested to find out what happens from your efforts.

I of course have very strong personal opinions about the UI system as a whole. And one of them is: For a system meant to "stabilize" economic conditions during an economic downturn .. the US system sucks.

It's a process that has the appearance of being fair and impartial, but let's face it .. a state must be concerned with their "fund" going broke and then being required to borrow money from the feds and being required to pay it back w/ interest .. I believe "methods" are used to keep recipiency down .. rather than raising their taxable wage base to realistic amounts.

Therefore the process from the beginning is meant to lull us, whether we are entitled or not, into complacency. We're like a mouse in a maze and very likely it is our FIRST time in the maze. Mice are trained to run a maze ..

It's a shame I sound so cynical, but it is my honest perception.

Chris

Sep 18, 2009
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that's correct
by: Kristina

Yes, they provided me with a letter that states that my employment ended due to current economic conditions and that they wouldn't dispute my Unemployment application. I was able to speak with the HR Rep at the company who laid me off this afternoon. She (HR Rep) stated that someone else submitted the letter inaccurately, and that the person who submitted it is on vacation until next week and would straighten it out then. But when I talked to the Unemployment office, they said that I would not receive any payments for about 8 weeks (when they make a decision and process all of the paperwork). I think that this is unfair because I obviously have bills to pay and I can't exactly explain to my mortgage company that someone made a mistake so I can't pay the mortgage for 2 months (?). I think that I have done all I can do. Thank you again so much for your help on this.


I think that I would get the state reps phone number and fax# .. call that HR rep back, explain the dire circumstances and ask her to fax an information letter to the state saying that they erred.

I am also curious as to why they would suspend benefits if you told them you were not attending school?? and why they would simply take the word of a party who said so without any proof.

You are correct that it is unfair, but it happens everyday.

As far as I'm concerned the employer is failing to be truthful with the state and if that person is aware they made a mistake there is absolutely no excuse not to try to help you out.

I did it all the time for an employer when at hearing level I ascertained that the hearing, which was the claimant's appeal was caused by a blunder made by the employer.

This kind of complacent shi! actually pisses me off and is one of the reasons for the underlying reasons for this website.

There's actually smoke coming out of my ears right now:)))

That person on vacation .. won't be able to straighten it out any quicker after a determination is issued. It needs to be done now!!!

Sep 18, 2009
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Thanks and one more question
by: Kristina

Thank you very much for your expertise. So it doesn't matter that my layoff was voluntary? I have heard of voluntary layoffs pretty frequently, but I stupidly took the HR Department's word that I would be able to collect unemployment (and they gave me a paper stating that I would be eligible and that they would not dispute it). Thanks again. I really appreciate it.


Well, voluntary layoffs are a matter of what state you are in. The subject is controlled by statute and or agreements with the employer.

That information should also be found in the link to the MI Digest.

I didn't mention it because I thought you said you were receiving benefits and the state told you the issue was whether you are attending school or not.

I can't read your original submission from where I am right now, but I also thought you said the employer provided a letter or some document that said you were laid off that suggested it was not voluntary????

Sep 18, 2009
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Reply to question
by: Kristina

No, I am not attending school, training, etc. In fact, I believe that I'm very close to working again (had some great interviews).


Hi Kristina,

Present the letter, but the issue would be your availability for work because apparently the employer .. or somebody sent an informational letter to the state saying that you were going to school.

They do it all the time.

You may be asked to produce your work search records.

It's very doubtful an employer would be able to produce any relevant information so it will be up to you to explain .. that the employer may have said this because of that CASUAL conversation.

It's an employer tactic .. just in case you did decide to go to school .. because attendance at school is potentially disqualifying all by itself.

Sep 18, 2009
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School
by: Kristina

No, I am not going to school.

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