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Quit after not having work for a full month in NJ and now Company disputes that i quit voluntarily without good reason

by jb
(NJ Unemployment Benefits)

I started working with SOS Security in NJ in 05/06/10 as a security officer: on my interview i answered the application sheet desiring Full Time work... during the interview i was asked by my supervisor (who was the interviewer as well) " Why are you joining this company?" and i answered " Well i am working retail now, and work is almost always uncertain... i need something more steady that i can rely on" and he replied " its not only more reliable we pay better too" with that said i agreed to work for them Full Time... then he asked " We also have floater positions opened, meaning you will have to be in different places most of the time it is somewhat a hassle but you get paid more" and i agreed to work as a floater as long as i was getting full time hours. Also note that i said i was available for travel for up to 25 miles away.

After working with them for about 5 months, They started to give me more work even, but to really far places... and i had no problem on doing it since i was getting paid: the problem started occurring when if one week i worked full time hours the next week i would get no work at all ( none of the 7 days of the week). I emailed them and had meetings with my supervisor asking that i would be given more work, because that wasn't what we agreed to: i agreed to having full time hours... EVERY week, not every other week... i explained that i have to fend for myself, I was trying to go to college, had to pay my own rent, insurance, bills, and had to pay my own gas for these jobs that were really far ( on the employee booklet it says the company will pay for gas used to travel to work) and with very rare exceptions i had to pay for gas myself and it was a lot of money. One day February 14th 2011 it was the iPhone launch for Verizon and i had to do store surveillance: Outside of the store, overnight (extremely cold winter) without them paying for gas, or anything: and i had explained to them that i didn't have money for gas, they still decided not to give me gas money.

I went there with the little gas i had, and did my shift, obviously i had to keep my car off and there was no heat in the middle of a harsh cold winter so there was no heat... After that night i got really sick with symptoms that appeared to be pneumonia (High temperature fever, headaches, coughing, wheezing, muscle pains) and i said to them that i was sick (note that i had never used a sick day on the company) And they accused me of lying, and said that it was mandatory that i show up... I refused saying i couldn't even get out of my house ( this conversation was by email) and then my boss said " fine have a doctors note when you come back from work" and I explained to him that i do not have health insurance and i had no money to pay even for gas how would i afford going to the doctor? After 3 days I called them and they kept ignoring my phone calls and emails until one time they finally picked up the phone and asked me to go up there for a meeting (apparently it was a disciplinary meeting)

On that meeting My supervisor and my boss both talked to me and said that they believed that i was faking it and that " I'll be damned if i ever send you to a job again" < - literally what he said. And i said " are you firing me because i was sick? i understand you might have the impression that i wasn't sick but with all due respect you're wrong: I need the money i need to work" After that they said they were going to send me places and they didn't for about 2 weeks straight...

After those 2 weeks, I get a call from my supervisor ( at this point I'm already looking for another job, filed several applications but wasn't called for an interview in any of them) My supervisor asked me to cover for him in a mall for a period of 2 hours because one of the security guards there had to leave early... and i told him " You haven't answered my calls in 2 weeks haven't given me any opportunities and now you call me wanting me to work for 2 hours
at 10$ an hour?" to which he replied " Listen This is the time that you help me out i'll help you out... I have to restaff a full hospital and im gonna put you in there i just have to have you cover for me" and i asked " can i have your word on that?" he said " yes now get there as soon as you can" and i did... After that i was ignored for another 4 days trying to call everyday for work and finally he picked up and i asked " What about restaffing the hospital?" and he said that he didn't have any positions available and i should just wait more and he was gonna try to give me some work... I kept calling him and that's all he would say, to just wait... Up until from the period of Feb 14th till March 07th i had not worked a single full day: only the 2 hours of work

So i applied for unemployment and after i got the unemployment notice I called in and i said that i quit and had already filed for unemployment: they said alright good luck with everything and we left on that

After being on unemployment for almost 5 months now and having collected 3100$ i get a letter in the mail saying that i was disqualified from benefits (without any prior notice) because i " quit without good reason" " The employee left the rank of the employed to the rank of the unemployed without good cause, he traded little work for no work at all and therefore is considered ineligible for the benefits" Not only that but not understanding a thing about this i thought i was just screwed because i was now not going to receive any money: but on top of it i get pretty much a bill of overpayment saying i have to pay back all that money: I have 0$ worth of savings i was living on 172$ a week (after taxes) my rent is 130 a week... that gave me 42$ a week for food, gas, and to pay my other bills... how am i supposed to rack up 3100$ if i don't even have 310$? in fact i probably only have 3.10$

On top of that they said i had 10 days from the mailing of the letter to file a written appeal... the letter was mailed on 07-11-11 and i just got it today 07-19-11... Two days to write an appeal letter and send it?

This is downright unfair... if i knew i had to pay back all this money in any form i wouldn't even have collected it, i would have tried to fend for myself in some other way... I really don't know what to do right now... and its not like i can hire a lawyer either...

Hi jb,

I changed your name .. to protect the screwed.

Well the appeal letter is the easy part. Write it, fax it and then begins the wait for an appeal hearing to be scheduled.

Personally, if I had accepted a "full time" job from a company and my supervisor(s) decided they were going to not pay me for gas reimbursement their own rules say they are supposed to pay me or started started not offering me work for weeks at a time .. I would have escalated the matter before I ever quit .. if there was some place to escalate and document the hell of out of their behavior.

And .. I would have filed a claim for partial unemployment benefits to get me through those lean weeks with no work.

And .. considering that I had been hired for full-time work, which I assume you can prove via submitted paystubs or a w2 or something and then more paystubs to show that the employer had "substantially changed the conditions of employment" .. I would have never called them to tell them I quit.

Why NJ is allowing an employer protest to stop benefits after you collected for five months .. I can't tell, but it seems to happen a lot .. even when the employer is apparently submitting information in an untimely manner.

If you want, contact me via email after you request your state file from the claims department and I'll give you my fax # and review it for free since the state of NJ is becoming my favorite state to pick on these days for their cold and callous behavior toward their unemployed citizens.

By the way .. Quit saying you quit .. it isn't that clear cut. Not when the employer refused to answer emails and phone calls from you begging for work ..


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