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Will I win unemployment in MA if I quit due to arrising medical issues/hostile working enviroment?

by Nicole

Hi Chris,

I would first like to start out by thanking you for such an informative website, a lot of the stuff I read put my mind slightly at ease. I'm 26 and recently left my job at a health center I had been working at for 3.5 years due to medical issues that were spiraling out of control due to a boss who was behaving in an aggressive matter and was causing me to shake, sweat, lose sleep and have anxiety attacks while this behavior was taking place. I'm shaking now just thinking about this whole mess. My job (billing) has always been stressful and I usually thrive in stressful situations but a blowout occured in my office two weeks prior to me giving my two week notice, when my supervisor was screaming at a co-worker of mine. My supervisor was acting very on edge and was throwing out threats for all to hear, including "upper management knows what's going on here and you all better watch out" to which my co-worker replied "well so does HR" My supervisor than stated, "And what do you think they will do?" Knowing that previous meetings with HR about her behavior went unaddressed. At this point I informed my manager that her behavior/yelling was making me very nervous and that I was shaking because of it. She responded by yelling to me "if you dont like it GET OUT" So I got up and left to go to my HR dept. (she proceeded to follow me out the door yelling if I walked out I wouldn't get paid) I arrived in my HR director's office still shaking and not able to even talk I was so upset. She told me to take a minute to calm down. I then explained what had occured and that my supervisors behavior was scaring me and my physical health was suffering as a result. I asked if I could be transferred at which point I was told there was no positions. I than asked if I could quit because I was not comfortable returning to my desk. She replied that if I quit she and my supervisor would fight my claim for unemployment and that I should return to my desk. At which point I did(no choice), and as far as I'm concerned no further action was taken against my supervisor.
A week and a half later I was written up for my manager stating I was being difficult in my E-mail responses, when in reality I was just trying to be thorough in my E-mail responses to avoid being "thrown under the bus" later. During my write-up my supervisor and another lady was called into the conference room where my boss began flipping out every time I would try and talk and kept slamming things around and getting up from her chair threatining to leave because "this is what I deal with" I was not being rude and was trying to be proffesional. The whole department heard her screaming at me through the walls. I told the lady in the room, who I guess was supposed to be a mediator, that there was no reason for my boss to be acting the way she was and that this behavior was unproffesional and was making me uncomfortable again. I signed that I did not agree with my write up and felt there were no grounds and wanted to follow up with my managers supervisor and was told I could not. You can barely read my response on my write up because I was again shaking to the point I could not write properly. I left work and had anxiety attacks the whole ride home. When I got home I was so worked up I was having trouble breathing and continued to have anxiety attacks. I was going to go to the ER because I felt like I was having some sort of breakdown. I instead decided to call the Employee Assistance Line (confidential service for employees needing advice with issues.) The lady on the line calmed me down and said she was going to get me a therapist. I did not sleep that night, and when it came time to work the next day I
was so sick to my stomach at the thought of returning to work I called out for two days after my write up(which was my one and only by the way)because I was pysically sick and could not sleep thinking about going back to work. I gave my two week resignation that Monday sighting medical issues that were occuring as a result of my supervisors behavior and gave to HR, CEO and my supervisor's boss. Within the two weeks HR asked me if I was interested in a posistion at another location and I went on an interview to explore my options. I was informed during the interview that I would have to continue to report to my old supervisor on an "as needed" basis. I knew there trick and declined stating I could not work for that woman any more and that if I continued to my heath would worsen. HR later told me I was not fit for the position even though I declined it. So my last day I go to my exit interview in which I was hysterical because I was praying the situation would posssibly get resolved and they would let my supervisor go and realized that would not happen. HR told me I had nothing to worry about and that they now knew what was going on but it "takes a while to get rid and relpace management positions." I assumed they meant they would not fight my unemploymnet but sure enough they did stating I "left work voluntarily because I did not agree with the companies work ethics"????? Don't know where they got that. In the meantime I have gotten a Doctor's note stating I was seen for anxiety during this period (also went to therapy for anxiety but didn't get a note). I also have three prescriptions I was put on for, stress, depression, anxiety and sleeping issues during my two week notice. And have also tried to get some free legal assistance from the state. My question is, 1)are state appointed lawyers(free lawyers) any good/are they secretly on the side of the employer? 2)how can unemployment deny me on grounds that are untrue(I never said I left because I left for work ethics)
3)how am i supposed to survive financially I left on 5/7/10 and my appeal notice says it will take several weeks to schedule a hearing and 14 days after to make a decision? Thanks again for all you've done for us "unemployed" nervous wrecks any help you can provide!!

Hi Nicole,

You're welcome and I hope you accept what I have to say as a way to bring you down out of that storm cloud that is making it difficult for you to see things clearly.

I don't try to relax people when it comes to quitting .. I try to warn them of the huge burden they will have when it comes time to proving they had good cause to quit. You must use any ethical means possible to present a well ordered presentation of the facts and the proof that proves the fact.

And I also try to emphasize the need to focus on the laws and rules of whatever state is in control of deciding your fate .. as far as UI benefits goes.

I have concerns after reading your story .. but clearly, I also do not have all the facts I would like to have, but you do.

If you haven't already, I want you to see the Massachusetts Service Representative Handbook. There is a section devoted to voluntary leaving employment.

Then come back and tell me why you should be able to collect unemployment for quitting .. according to Mass.

And just to add to the pot of what might be useful when you have narrowed your focus do some research with the free 24 hour trial available at

It's a very intuitive legal search .. just be sure to make sure that you are reading about decisions relative to Massachusetts Unemployment

I also want you to quit thinking with your emotions .. From here on out you need to find the Nicole that thrives under stress and hopefully has the ability to be an objective viewer of the facts.

Comments for Will I win unemployment in MA if I quit due to arrising medical issues/hostile working enviroment?

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Jun 29, 2010
my response
by: Anonymous

Thanks for getting back to me, after reading through the Mass Service Rep. handbook I believe I fall under section 1216D-ailment related to work. I'm just unsure of wether I fall under section D-ailment related to work or E-alleged ailment-no evidence or reasonable belief. The reason I am unsure is I did try to resolve the situation prior to my resignation and informed HR of arrising health issues that I believed to be related directly to my supervisors behavior. When I initially was intervied by unemployment I was asked if I had a doctors note and at the time I did not (I have since obtained one although it simply states I was seen for anxiety and that I had reported work was becoming increasingly stressful.) And I was prescribed medications to help me with anxiety, sleeplessness and depression. Symptoms which I never experienced prior to this ordeal at work.
I think I may also fall under the general harassment under 1225 section A. I feel I was being harassed by having to endure being yelled at and threats being made about my position being on the line. However, I'm not sure if I should just focus on the medical ailment as I have more documentation to back that up. Either way I feel I did make reasonable and appropriate efforts to resolve the matter prior to my leaving (required under 1204B-1204D and that I had good cause attributable to the employer for involuntary leaving section 1203.) I will also be sure to check out the website you provided for the 24 hour trial.

A health issue becomes a health issue when a doctor says it's a health issue.

It's never a wise idea to self-diagnose.

I would call what you were experiencing more along the lines of harassment by the supervisor.

The fact that you were still suffering from anxiety even after you quit your job .. doesn't bode well for claiming the anxiety was related to the work.

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