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Took a lower paying position

by Jessica
(Iowa)

Chris, I have been at my job for over 4 years (which is quite awhile for where I'm at). I was called at home and told they were laying off people due to waiting on a contract. They said they didn't want to lose me, or the other 56 employees that they were also doing this to. So they offered us all positions that are $3.51 less an hour and in a different building, but the building isn't far from the old building.


I had 4 hours to pick off of a list of schedules I could accept, or to voluntarily sign something saying I resigned. I went in with the intentions of telling them that I didn't want to accept a job, because I really didn't want to work for less and it didn't even make sense with daycare cost. I'd make more on unemployment.

I feel like they bullied me into taking a position. They had me in a room alone with the director of HR and she just wouldn't let me say no. I told her none of the schedules would work and that I didn't want to take less pay. She couldn't even guarantee that I'd still even be able to keep my pay that is already $3.51 less an hour because the other people make a lot less then that.

She basically just sat there until I picked a position. I was in tears and really dreading the decision. So I accepted the position, but it was clear I was upset about it.

Now its been a little over a month I had 2 weeks of training and the pay isn't working out, although the job is similar, but not the same as what I was doing. It is supposed to be temporary "IF" they get this contract, I can come back.

If I put my 2 weeks in and tell the employer I'm quitting because the pay cut is just too much, but given at least that I tried to make it work, will I still have a chance at winning my unemployment?

About 30 of the other 56 employees didn't accept a position and won their unemployment because they couldn't prove that they offered us the same pay (they all were able to say no before me) which is
probably why they wouldn't let me say no.


Chris's Answer



Hi Jennifer,

Those other thirty people who refused the offer, likely managed to collect unemployment because the employer had made a substantial change to the terms and conditions of their employment with a quite large reduction in pay.

Your issue would now be whether Iowa will find you have good cause to quit suitable work that you actually accepted when in that room with the HR person who you only thought wouldn't take no for an answer.

In fact, I would suspect that some of those people who refused the new jobs with the new rate of pay, might expect the employer to appeal their benefits on the ground they "voluntarily quit when they refused suitable continuing employment"

It's a numbers/odds game Jennifer .. that some of those thirty won't know how to fight the issue, once at an appeal hearing. Those thirty people, had they asked me the question .. would first have to tell me how much they had been making so I could calculate a percentage for the reduction in pay and then go research Iowa decisions to see if there is some kind of cutoff for what reduction in pay may make suitable work ..unsuitable.

You, on the other hand, accepted the job and the reduction and you've been working at 3.51 less p.h. for just over a month.

There is an argument to be made for still having good cause, but it is that acceptance in the first place that creates most of the danger for a denial .. especially if you let "giving it a chance to work" go on to long.

I never tell people to quit their jobs .. because I think it's more important people make their own rational decisions when they understand there are upsides and downsides to any argument .. that isn't necessarily a guarantee of winning .. but a way to improve the odds of doing that.

So Jennifer, tell me, what is was the percentage amount of the pay reduction you accepted just over a month ago?

I went to the Iowa appeal site and plugged "pay reduction into the search bar".

There were a lot of decisions, so you may have to read more than one to get close to your own situation.

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