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Should I quit or be fired for being inefficient.

by Tiff
(San Jose, CA)

I've been with this company for more than two years.

My boss's been stressed out lately about the economy (I think) therefore it seems like everything I do, cannot satisfy her.

Beginning of this year, when I was pregnant, if I did a job that she thought "not efficient" for her, she would say something like "I know you're pregnant, a lot of things on your mind, but you cannot let it effect your work". "If you cannot do it, I'll get someone else to do it".

Then, after I had my baby, she would bring my daughter into the conversation. I feel so uncomfortable everytime she brings my daughter into the conversation to blame me.

One thing about her is that she's never let me finish what I am trying to say. She always jumps right in and puts words in my mouth when I try to speak. She does it to every employee at work.

I want to quit and apply for unemployment while looking for another job but not sure I would qualify for the unemployment benefit.??? I've been trying to look for another job now but it's just so tough.

Anyhow, about 2 weeks ago, she asked me to follow up on a credit, which I did and tried to explain to her what happened but she didn't let me explain it. She turned around and got upset at me for not following up with my work.

I have all the proof that I did follow up with the work. She emailed me saying that she cannot tolerate my inefficiency anymore. She said that she's giving me couple weeks to show my improvement or she will have a meeting with me to come up with a solution.

Now, I have the feeling that she's going to fire me. If she does fire me, can I apply for unemployment benefit while looking for another job?

My husband and I just bought a house, and with a newborn, we cannot afford to live on 1 income.

Thank you for your input.

Hi Tiff,

I'm never comfortable telling someone to quit because I don't know what steps you have taken to preserve the employment, or another way to say this is what steps have you taken to correct the situation. If she's never let you complete anything you have to say, I have my doubts that you have taken any actions to try to resolve the problems. The choice to quit or not is a personal one. You
need to read California's eligibility determination guide regarding "voluntary quits" there's a link to it on this page.

Now on the other hand, if you feel she is going to fire you, can you tell me if the company has an employee handbook, with a progressive discipline policy and if so, has she followed this policy.

Employer's failure to follow their own policies is one of the reason's people who don't deserve unemployment get unemployment.

It is necessary for an employer to prove "willful" misconduct. Inability, whether real or perceived is not misconduct. If she's tossing the word inefficient around she's not doing anything to strengthen her case.

You mentioned she has a problem with your "follow up" to your work. I would tell an employer that this is not "Poor Job Performance" or "Inefficiency", but rather "Neglect of Duties". Not because I think that of your situation, but because you need to know what tact the employer will take. They do not want to pay you unemployment benefits.

To understand the difference between these two very different reasons to fire someone let me try to explain.....

Inefficiency or inability would be if someone was unable to complete their workload with a minimum of errors, but asked for help, was provided with additional training, but never got the hang of it. This could be due to a number of reasons, but the employee was never able to achieve a satisfactory performance far as the employer is concerned.

Neglect of Duties is when someone has proven themselves capable of doing the job, but their performance falls off and the quality of their work deteriorates for some reason. Instead of asking for help the employer may find their work stuffed in a drawer. This is intentional and it is willful misconduct.

Of course, if the reason the performance fell of and the quality of the work became less than adequate was due to a hefty increase in workload it would probably be seen as inability...until they stuffed the work in their drawer.

If you've done your job to the "best of your ability" and the employer cannot prove otherwise you will probably get unemployment if fired.

Getting unemployment when you quit a job is not impossible, but it shifts the burden to you the employee and requires attempts by you to "save the employment. When a person quits, they're essentially firing their employer...and just like the employer must prove good cause for getting rid of someone, so must you.


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Nov 23, 2008
Afraid of confronting boss
by: Anonymous

Hi Chris,

Thanks again.
You're right about me not trying to confront my boss.
To tell the truth, after seeing several people getting fired for confronting her makes me scared to do so because I am afraid I would lose my job.
Do you think I would have a strong case if I get witnesses? like asking people who quit or got fired to testify for me?


Hi Tiff,

If you have witnesses willing to testify on your behalf, use them, but even using them without taking steps to work things out leaves you open to the fact that you did not give the employer an opportunity to correct the situation.

When an employer fires a person, they must either give you an opportunity to correct your behavior
through progressive discipline and by making you aware your job is in jeopardy OR if immediately terminated, the behavior must be so bad that any reasonable person would know that they shouldn't have done it.

If you are trying to "preserve the employment" (a necessity required by statute in California) and you've done so in a reasonable and professional way, and your boss fires you for it, you will have a stronger case for receiving unemployment benefits than just up and quitting.

Tiff, have you received written warnings? Are you on a final written warning? And do you think quitting with cause will somehow circumvent things for you?


Nov 22, 2008
Quitting without confronting the problem at work.
by: Chris

Hi Tiff,

You can apply for unemployment and see how it goes, but I wouldn't rely on getting a favorable determination. And if you do and your employer appeals...what then?

I'd be much more cautious about quitting. Do you have anyway to "prove" your employer is now blaming "new motherhood" as your reason for being inefficient? Will the claims representative, or if it goes to hearing will the administrative law judge be convinced by your testimony or will the employer, who is obviously a "verbal" person be more convincing?

If this woman is truly walking all over need to address it with her in a calm, professional manner. If you can't speak to her because she doesn't listen, email her your concerns, stressing why you believe her assertion that you are not an efficient worker is wrong.

You have not told me one thing you have done to try to correct the situation. I do see where you're going with the stress thing, but has a doctor advised in writing, that you should quit your job due to the "stress factor"?

I can't stop you from doing what you want to do, and you may "get lucky" and get unemployment benefits, and you may get even luckier and win at hearing and not have to repay the benefits, but this would probably be due more to the employer's mistakes than anything you did right.

Please be careful and do not do anything without thinking it through to the possible conclusions.

It's the general consensus (among "unemployment professionals" that in California anyone can get unemployment benefits.....I do not agree with this. Although their recipiency is higher that the national average of 35's not that much higher.

Nov 22, 2008
Thanks Chris
by: Tiff

Hi Chris,

Thank you for your response.
If I quit, can I still apply for unemployment benefits with "good cause"? With her keeping on saying about me being inefficient and on bringing my baby in the conversation give me emotional stress. I really regret about resigning my previous job of more than 4 year to work for her.

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