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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quit or Fired?

I live in CA. I worked for a small business owner for two plus years. Just recently I gave him two weeks notice in writing. He asked me to stay and stay and stay longer and I said “okay”. That meant that I would be working for him for at least three or four more weeks, maybe more. The next work day, he told me that I did not need to come back and after the close of business I did not come back to work. I have not received my last paycheck, for that single day and do not expect that I will be paid for more than the hours worked in that one day. I have been told by others that I have been let go, fired, terminated you know all of words better than me.

If indeed I do not get paid for any more hours than the ones worked, can I legally receive CA unemployment?

He definitely owes you for for hours worked and he should have paid you already, as California law requires that.

Can you legally receive unemployment? I have no idea, but the folks at the unemployment office do. Go ask them.

But, I think that since you resigned you should just drop it and move on with life. Why did you resign only to continue working anyway? Did you not have another job lined up? Were you planning to enter a life of leisure where you eat chocolate, listen to Volkmusic and only blog occasionally? (Ahh, my life is so difficult.)

Reprogram your brain to pretend that your boss just accepted your two week's notice and that you didn't do extra work and that you left on good terms. As a small business owner he probably did a small freak out when you presented your resignation letter. When you only have a few employees you don't have a large group of cross trained individuals to help you out when someone leaves. A missing employee means you have more work poured on your head.

Your boss probably initially thought he couldn't handle it without you, but then upon reflection realized he could. And so, he let you go. He didn't do it in a professional manner (no notice and no final paycheck), but he did. (Now, if I read this wrong and you didn't work extra, he terminated you before the two week notice was up, then what you should do is the same, but my analysis of your boss changes. That's extra jerky behavior and what happens when people take business relationships personally, but that's another story.)


Anonymous said...

Check out the CA UI website - it list nearly every reason you could be eligible for unemployment.

I happen to know that when an employee gives notice and the employer let's them go before the expiration of the notice period the employer has changed the separation from voluntary to involuntary so the employee would be eligible for unemployment UNLESS the employer paid the employee for hours they would have been paid had they worked through the notice period.

So, yes, my experience with CA UI would indicate that the writer would be eligible for UI in this case.

Also, as the writer is in CA, the employer was required to issue a final check on the last day of work (since the employee was involuntarily terminated) with all hours worked and any accrued but unused vacation or PTO. If the writer would like to pursue a wage claim they'd need to contact the CA DLSE.

Anonymous said...

As an HR Manager in California, this is accurate. It never hurts to apply for UI, odds are you'll be approved as CA favors employees over employers. However, the UI reserve in CA is bankrupt.

You have a definite case against your employer for failure to pay final wages. Penalties will also be applied. But, on what terms do you want to leave the employer?

Ibn Tumart said...

Anonymous #2, you admit that the writer has a good chance of getting unemployment and has a case for failure to pay final wages---yet you chastise him/her for not thinking about the *employer's* feelings?

Attitudes like yours are why some people think HR is evil.

HR by Your Side said...

Aside from any legal matters it rarely pays(both financially and emotionally) to really fight such things.

It is, on balance, always good to leave an employer on the best terms possible. Leaving on bad terms can sometime impact of future job opportunities somewhere down the line.

For sure the small business owner has taken this personally and acted on emotion but this will not change. His entire life is wrapped up in this business. I would suggest moving on to your new opportunity and look forward to a new beginning.

Infamous HR Guy said...

Go to your local EEO office and file a claim and ask for a right to sue. Step outside, and walk to the opposite corner of the building to the shady lawyers office is (it has the same tinted windows and same text on its sign as the EEO sign) and have him send a scary gram. :-P

In California, you have the right to be paid one days wage per day that you have not received your final paycheck.

As for unemployment, go to the CA EDD website and apply online. If the employer fights it, appeal. Seriously, if they are retarded enough to not give you a final paycheck, they are probably to retarded to know they have to fight an unemployment claim.

Caught me on my jaded HR rep day.

Anonymous said...

First if a employer is not in compliance with the FLSA, they get what they deserve! The website to file a claim is The ex employee is entitled to a days pay for every day it takes to get their final paycheck. You are also eligible for unemployment because the employer is now the moving party. She did not resign she was fired.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm not understanding the whole leaving on bad terms question from the second comment and from "HR by Your Side".

He was let go and wasn't paid for those hours he worked. Isn't it too late to not leave on bad terms? He's already left and his ex-employer decided to make the terms bad (unless his former boss does still intend to pay him).

I don't see any reason why he shouldn't get paid for the hours he worked. If his former boss doesn't like it then they need to go into a business that doesn't require employees.

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Anonymous said...

In IT, it isn't unusual to be escorted from the building immediately on handing in your resignation.

Anonymous said...

I have a unique situation(I hope). For more than 3yrs I was harassed by my entire department(maybe difficult to believe, but true). They even went so far as to actually make up a story like I tried to fight another employee, threatening messages because I had a passage from the Bible in my signature, my boss conducted my review with the door open, I could go on and on. The abuse became so bad, my health started to be affected in a very bad way. (before anyone asks, YES I complained to HR we have a harassment hotline and I filed several complaints, but to no avail. The harassment only became worse)I’ve been off since April 2. To make a long story short and even shorter, last week, an employee with the company informed me of my employment status, which was terminated. Now, I’m not upset about being terminated. You’d have to have walked in my shoes for over 3yrs to know what I went through at that place. I couldn’t believe anyone could be subjected to such hostility to the 100th degree.
Back to my point, the employee told me I was terminated. HR NEVER (that’s correct) NEVER notified me. I have received nothing from HR. I did receive COBRA papers and this termination occurred over 2wks ago and I was NEVER notified by HR. I know there has to be some sort of legal issues with this as well as ethical issues, isn’t it? I’m just truly at a loss; as I’ve never heard of anything like this before. After everything I’ve been through at that job(and I haven’t scratched the surface (not a small bit) of the abuse I endured there)it’s astonishing as well as upsetting that they would feel as though they can treat me this way!
Does anyone have any advice on this?

Ryan said...

I think you were fired. Legally, you should think of resignations as 'offer and acceptance'. You 'offered' to resign, and instead of accepting it, your boss counter-offered by asking you to stay ~3-4 weeks. A counteroffer kills an offer. You accepted the counteroffer to stay ~3-4 weeks. Then he came back and told you to get lost the next day - that means you were fired.

I'm late to the game here, but I hope this helps.