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State of California, Refusing to Sign on for New Job Title.

by Ryan
(Los Angeles, CA)

I currently work in a youth facility as a "Counselor" and the new administration is asking us to begin performing cleaning duties in the housing area. These duties include washing dishes, cleaning toilets, mopping etc. (Maid Services). We have been told that if the house is not clean, meaning does not meet licensing standards, then we will be written up at the end of our shift for not having the house clean.


When I took the position these duties were not part of the job description. The job is 3 nights a week, 12 hour shifts, and we are to supervise the youth, acting as “Counselors”. The new job duties would require 1-2 hours of work during our 12 hours shift. It has been mentioned that we may be asked to sign a new job description and if we refuse, may be fired.

I have two questions in relation to the above. First, if I refuse to sign the new job description and am fired, can I collect UI in CA? Second, if no new job description is formally assigned, yet the additional duties are added, and I am written up for not performing said additional duties, then fired, can I collect UI in CA?



Hi Ryan,

Your question comes at a time right after I read something that created a question for me about legislators in California making changes to deal with the unprecedented fiscal crisis they are currently facing. Click here for the forum thread.

Since so many people think that they have been paying into unemployment their entire working life, this might be a good place to first repeat that it is employer's only that pay the tax the pays for UI benefits. I do realize that people in California also pay a tax, but it is for Disability unemployment insurance.

Our "legislators" are the people who determine the statutes that effect
us when we try to collect unemployment. They also determine how their "unemployment fund" will be funded. Anyone can see how their state gets the money to fund unemployment by clicking Financing on this page. You'll notice California (and Puerto Rico) is the only state absent from the list with regard to the taxable wage base. If a state is insolvent or soon to be insolvent, the wage base may be one of the problems as well as the "liberalness" of the statutes. This is why most states do not allow unemployment when a person quits for personal reasons .. which is quite possible to do in California as anyone can see if they choose to visit the current CA Eligibility Guide. For your situation, you might want to first click on Voluntary Quit and then Working Conditions.

So, now you may be wondering why I've prefaced my whole answer with this information.

It's the fact that legislators can enact "emergency legislation" which can have an effect on how an unemployment department "must" decide things. If you visit the CUIAB Unemployment Precedent Decisions there is a section on "overruled, superseded, and modified decisions.

Ryan, the truth is lately I have been coming across some decisions (in insolvent states) that seem to be contrary to statute.

I think the section under "working conditions" that would be most relevant to you is "Duties outside scope of employment".

I think the best information available nowadays, is the information that can be provided by those experiencing the system right now.

Please, come back and update us, with what you decide to do.

Another suggestion .. if in doubt, call an appeal office present your question and ask for an ALJ to give you an answer. They won't give legal advice, but if you frame your questions right you may be able to get a better understanding of your issue.

Chris

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