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New Owners Are Making Me Want to Quit My Job

by going crazy in Nj
(New Jersey)

I live in NJ and have worked in my family business for 18 years. In May 2016 my family sold the business. The new owners kept me on as the Operations Manager. After 2 months they started stripping me of my job responsibilities. They made verbal promises and after 6 months have completely striped me of all responsibilities, to include being relieved of doing payroll in 3 weeks. All the while having to train people to do the job I was doing. I was called to a meeting on new years eve at 2:30 pm to be told they want to keep me on in a (diminished) capacity and gave me the position of purchasing and QA. I loved my job now it's a struggle to go to work I'm anxious and stressed every day.


My mom and dad stayed on till December 17th. There has been some grey areas between them and the new owners. Over the last few months I was asked to tell them not to show up for work or I'll be fired. The new owners have put me in the middle of their settlement issues for which I was not a part of and made to feel that I need to betray my family in order to keep my job. I go to work every day exhausted due to not being able to sleep over all the stress this has caused me. I went from being the new owners operations manager and assisting them in running the company to being told my 18 years of experience is not wanted.

I understand that quitting by law is considered voluntary, however, I don't know how much more I can handle before I just completely lose it. If I were to quit my job would I be able to collect UI?


Chris's Response Includes a Question About Any Other Substantial Changes to the Terms and Conditions of Your Employment



First, after eighteen years working for your parents, I'll bet the adjustment to working at-will for a new owner is stressful, but since it doesn't sound like you were vested as a part owner in your parents business, you're focusing on personal feelings which are in essence, likely a legal problem for only your parents I am not an attorney, so I can't really address that.

But, I can be objective about UI benefits and now it does sound like when your parents sold the business the new owners offered you, an employee albeit of your parents an opportunity to continue in your employment .. since a former employee can't exactly sell along with a company, it's at-will employees.

If I'm going to be objective, what the new owners are doing makes sense, but that doesn't mean I cannot empathize with the rock and the hard place you're dealing with.

As for all the reasons you provided that make you want to quit your job, some sound like the stuff of a determination that could read that you had good personal cause to quit, but still lacking good cause to quit a job for the sake of being able to collect unemployment benefits.

However, I read something that prompts a question (at the bottom) relevant to the potential for good cause to quit "attributable to the work, or the employer providing an obvious possibility, you might be able to work with to acquire and document good cause.

First, I've assumed instead of asking, that you're quite capable of performing you new, but limited job duties after eighteen years.

So, I am pushed to think, if it were me and I knew I needed to carry and prove the burden of good cause as it relates to something found in unemployment law, where would I first explore?

I myself would wonder if/how I could prove a substantial change to the terms and conditions of my new at-will employment based on any change made by an employer that could be arguable as so substantial the employer gives me good cause to quit .. after I can prove I exhausted efforts that could of preserved my job if the employer was the reasonable type.

Anytime an employer makes a change to the current terms of employment it should give an employee pause to consider the implications of whether accepting, or refusing the new terms is related to UI laws concept of what is deemed suitable, or unsuitable for an individual employee.

The non-monetary chartbook published by DOLETA has the term "suitable work" everywhere, but the main discussion (on page 31) begins by saying this about the criteria that is considered that also makes work suitable, or possibly unsuitable.

Criteria for Suitable Work — All states look at whether the work refused was suitable. When state laws list the criteria for suitability, they usually address the degree of risk to an individual’s health, safety, and morals; the individual’s physical fitness, prior training, experience, and earnings; the length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in a customary occupation; and the distance of the available work from the individual’s residence. Delaware and New York make no reference to the suitability of work offered but provide for disqualification for refusals of work for which an individual is reasonably fitted. South Carolina specifies that whether work is suitable must be based on a standard of reasonableness as it relates to the particular individual involved.

Question: Has the reduction in job duties, also resulted in a substantial reduction of pay and if so how much percentage wise?

If no pay reduction has occurred, you may want to further explore and document to make the new employer specifically aware, of why you have good reason to object on this count ..

"The new owners have put me in the middle of their settlement issues for which I was not a part of and made to feel that I need to betray my family in order to keep my job."

Betray is a strong word and given you mentioned more problems you may be having relating to a legal issue between the new owner and your former employers .. you may need to talk to a lawyer to find out if the word betray can be turned into something "illegal" the employer is expecting you to comply with.

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Jan 07, 2016
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Go or be fired
by: Anonymous

At this point i wish they had fired me...
My response to that statement was "with all due respect I can not nor will not do that, if you want that to happen you must tell them yourself" at that point my loyalty to the new owner and my family was brought into question...

Since that day they have all but deminished my job tilte given by them "operations manager" and have literally taken almost every responsibly I had away. .. I was told that I can not even tell someone in production to put a hair net on and that is minor in comparison to other infractions...

I purposed a scenario to them... "if I had the to ability to correct a clear and concise policy infraction and did not because I was told it wasn't my job anymore and the health department showed up and cited the company, which could've been avoided there response was "let them fail" "sink or swim"... REALLY... the employee isn't cited the company is but I guess they don't care.

Jan 06, 2016
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Be Civil
by: Bill Getting Old

You said: "My mom and dad stayed on till December 17th. There has been some grey areas between them and the new owners. Over the last few months I was asked to tell them not to show up for work or I'll be fired."

Perfect; let them fire you. But you want to be civil. Something like "Tell them yourself. What do I look like, the Freaking Western Union man?" Maybe not those exact words but that should do the trick.

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