Non-work related injury, Part-time with benefits running out, can I collect unemployment if fired?
(Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, USA)
I work retail at an at-will company, and they cut everyones hours last year so that I no longer qualify for FMLA job protection. I injured myself with a mid-foot sprain and torn ligaments about 3 weeks ago. I’m wearing an air cast and am directed by the doctor to stay on my crutches. According to the doctor, if I don’t wear the crutches, I will likely damage my foot permanently, but if I stay on the crutches, my job will not let me back on the sales floor as then I will be unable to perform my job to their satisfaction. They will not provide me a stool behind the register to rest on, nor will they let me go to the back room and rest when there aren’t any customers in the store beyond my 15 minute break. Nor will they let me split it up into three 5 minute breaks.
I have been with the company for 3 years, 11 months. Since the store opened, in fact. And all along, I have maintained an average of 25-35% of the stores sales.
I was told that I would have to use all my vacation and sick time, which is understandable. Then was told they might decide to give me 2 weeks unpaid excused leave, but there would be no job security. I said, I understand, but they can make the choice to keep my job available for me. My store manager changed the subject, ignoring the question. The SM has been there for just about than 4 months, yet, she did our year end reviews and gave me a less than kind one. She has decided that I’m too strong for her, and too much competition and is looking for a way to get rid of me. I have been tardy 3 times in the last 5 months – one of which was a phone call. Before that, it had been nearly 2 years since I was last tardy. Turns out the new SM was going to be fired from her previous SM job at another national retail company. (I’ve 2 friends with the same positions at different stores who knew that the company was trying to force her out for poor performance.)
I tried to go to my DM for help, but it would seem that for now they are best friends, as the DM went back to my SM and asked why I don’t just talk to her. This was after I spoke with my SM, which was of no help.
I’m going in today to file a short term disability claim with them, and I have to take a check to pay my premium for my insurance through the company. I am on short term disability with the insurance company, and am receiving 60% of my meager pay check, but would I also qualify for unemployment if they don’t keep my job for me? It’s not a great job, but it is a job, and it has benefits. Could they take away my benefits if they decide to keep my job? My SM said that I would probably have to be terminated, and then possibly rehired. I asked if I would be rehired at my current pay rate (had just gotten a 2% raise) and with my benefits. She said, “Oh, I wouldn’t know.”
I’m scheduled to go see a foot surgeon tomorrow, since the orthopedic doctor is not comfortable with how my foot is healing.
Sorry I couldn’t answer you sooner, but hopefully your question will help someone else.
Let’s just keep everything to the reason you are unable to work.
You didn’t necessarily, mention being medically restricted from work completely, just that the employer won’t allow you to work while on crutches.
If that is accurate, file a claim for unemployment now. In essence, it is a lack of work created by the employer’s inability or unwillingness to provide you with work to comply with the medical restrictions.
If the employer chooses to terminate you before your condition is acceptable for them to allow you back to work .. it would be a discharge for a reason other than misconduct and you should be cleared for benefits with no problems .. as far as I can tell:)