Over Invested

by Anon
(Gilbert, Arizona)

I worked for Arizona Child Protective Services (CPS) for over ten years with last seven years as an investigator. “Work Life” expectancy for a CPS worker, as reported by my supervisor, is 2.5 years. I have put my all into this job and had hoped to retire from the state in the future.


It is generally known, thanks to the media, that Arizona DES/CPS is unable to retain employees and employees are not keeping up with investigations. This has been going on for many years. I have observed workers being placed on administrative leave with no explanation, emotional/physical breakdowns, employees being quietly pushed out, and most employees quitting after only a short time on the job. It is as if ADES has getting rid of unwanted employees and avoiding payment of unemployment benefits down to a fine art.

Several months ago, CPS management in Maricopa County mandated that each worker take on 5 new investigations per week. Workers were already flooded (over 100 open investigations per worker is common) and unable to handle 3-4 investigations per week prior to this mandate. It was also common for a worker to get 3 investigations in one day, especially on Friday's.

One Friday in November 2012, I received my 3rd investigative report for the day. Shortly after leaving the report in my office, my supervisor stated, before leaving the office, "have a good weekend." How could I have a good weekend when I had so much work to do and received three new investigations requiring a response before the following Monday? There years of this mistreatment and it was the final straw. I emailed my resignation stating that I could no longer meet CPS expectations. I’d been looking for another, less stressful position for over a year and I'd tolerated the loss of investigate stipend ($300+/month), increase in retirement withdrawals, and the implementation of furlough days.

The following week, our office admin stated she would not accept my resignation because it did not indicate if I was transferring to another position, retiring, or? I was uncertain of what my plans were and how to respond. I gave 5 week notice as we are required to complete any outstanding investigations before leaving. Please note that I had had several discussions since December 2011, with management, regarding my inability to keep up with 5 new investigations per week and was told this mandate would continue and there was no end in sight. Office admin stated she would “hold on to my resignation” until I decided on outcome. I searched and applied for what I thought to be less demanding jobs during my final 5 weeks on-the-job and also during my 4 week vacation time afterwards. There were a couple of possibilities. One job was offered to me in Prescott Valley, AZ and I initially accepted because workers were assigned only about 10 new investigations per month. I sent a new resignation notice giving a final date/notice of transfer. I later declined the job due to unresolvable housing issues (Prescott Valley is 100 miles from my residence in Maricopa County).

I continued to use up my vacation time (time sheets sent to office admin and signed off by supervisor and Assistant Program Manager) until 2/8/13, when I received a FedEx letter stating that I could not take the remainder of my vacation time (170) and that I had to return to work on 2/7/13 @ 8:00 a.m. I believed that if I returned to work, I would face even more intolerable work demands and did not want a termination on my record. So, I called the Assistant Program Manager (APM) on 2/8/13. I advised that I did not receive their letter until 2/8/13 and my resignation continued to be valid despite declining Prescott Valley CPS job. I only wanted to take the remainder of my vacation to maintain medical/dental coverage as long as possible. However, if they/she would not allow me to do this, I would terminate effective the date of my call. APM agreed with this and asked that I send her an email confirming resignation again.

Should I bother
with an unemployment application? I assumed that I would find suitable employment quickly, but it is not happening...




Answer: About being over invested in a job

Hi Anon,

Pardon me if I am assuming what your title meant, but in truth, this is what I believe. It is the employee that over invests emotionally, in what they also, earn a living from and that is what keeps them from developing good cause to collect benefits, before they leave a job .. because it's counter intuitive to hurt, anything they believe will what you truly care about. Your personal purpose underneath all the crap some jobs layer on.

I too, think getting unemployment benefits at would be an evidence ladened endeavor to prove the working conditions and workload were not attainable (maybe all those media files) and maybe even an overall Unreasonable ruse to keep the workforce at a level that fit within the operational budget ..

At any rate, I'd wouldn't appeal without hiring an attorney. (And you need one in AZ for UI hearings unless the non-lawyer rep possesses a supervisory letter.

Of course, any employer doesn't want good employees to quit, but just look at the room created to manipulate employees, in a situation where say, a less than stellar employee can't be made to quit by the way a supervisor speaks to them, rolls their eyes at them, or assigns tasks to them. Just turn up the heat and grind on every move they make and documenting everything as a formal discipline ..

I know, at least in the private sector, employees often receive benefits until they are finally fired by the employer due to work related misconduct .. after an investigation they may or may not of been a part of.

However, the things your quit, I'd think worth digging into before giving a more definitive like answer ..

1.I emailed my resignation stating that I could no longer meet CPS expectations. Resignation letter thanking an employer for the privilege of working do not tell the same stories heard by the UI dept .. Normally, the resignation letter is a document submitted by the employer to show the claimant quit for personal reasons "UNKNOWN TO THE EMPLOYER".

2. The following week, our office admin stated she would not accept my resignation because it did not indicate if I was transferring to another position, retiring, or? Did this invalidate that resignation, at that time?

3. I continued to use up my vacation time (time sheets sent to office admin and signed off by supervisor and Assistant Program Manager) until 2/8/13, when I received a FedEx letter stating that I could not take the remainder of my vacation time (170) and that I had to return to work on 2/7/13 @ 8:00 a.m. Now were talking a discharge .. at least until you emailed them another resignation letter. I'm also curious as to whether they violated any policy when refusing to let you continue using accrued PTO.

Of course there's always the refusal of suitable work also used by employers, however the distance is what would make it not suitable.

The primary barrier to getting unemployment after a voluntary quit is attribution of the fault must fall squarely on the employment .. or an agent thereof.

An employee can't prove fault by just speaking the truth of how much the expectations of an employer sucked. They have to proven as unreasonable, you have to prove you made effort, sought out alternatives to what is unreasonable.

Sadly, most people that quit their jobs under similar conditions as you did Anon .. fall apart long before they quit and may even be addicted to anti anxiety, anti depressants, anti something and still have to have a doctor tell them .. you need to at least, go out of FML to see if that improves your anti conditions .. then, when they go back to work .. and get sick aqain .. they have proof positive.

Now that sucks .. when people feel forced to choose work, over being well .. something is wrong with that picture.

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