Why can't they just leave well enough alone?
June 1, 2006 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Can I get unemployment in MN if my job just plain old stinks? The good ol' corporate reorg has gone down yet again and I may be working on something I really hate. If this is the case, I'm trying to figure out my options...

1. Protest i.e., try to turn all their corporate feel good speak around by telling them how this doesn't work for me and it's not in the best interest of the company to use my talents for a job that's clearly a bad fit. This would be my "attract more flies with honey" approach.

2. Refuse the role altogether and tell them to fix it because I ain't gonna do it. Essentially boil it down to "I'm being railroaded" and formally document the hell out of it for my files.

3. Say "the hell with you, this job blows" and just quit.

In an ideal world, I want to take the summer to regroup on my career goals, interview like hell and get the job I want. What would make this more palatable is unemployment. I've been separated from a job before - a mutual parting of the ways, I like to say, and received benes.

From the MN Unemployment website:
Even though you may have enough wages to establish an Unemployment Insurance Benefit Account, the reason why you lost your job could disqualify you from receiving those benefits. Some reasons are:

1. Quit without a good reason caused by the employer - If you quit your employment you are disqualified from receiving benefits unless you quit because of a good reason caused by the employer.

- Examples of potentially disqualifying quits:
* quit to relocate
* quit to seek other employment
* quit for personal reasons

- Exceptions to disqualifying quits:
* quit with good reason caused by the employer (reduction in pay, substantial change in working conditions, threat to health or safety)

OK, so what defines "good reason caused by the employer" or "substantial change in working conditions?" Basically, this reorganization didn't affect my pay or job level (though I was demoted in title only), I would just consider the work I'd be doing giant steps back as I'd be doing it 100% of the time and not the 25% I'd been doing previously.

Basically, I need an iron clad situation where my employer can't fight it when the state says pay up.

Thanks in advance for the help.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Why leave your current job in order to "regroup on [your] career goals, interview like hell and get the job [you] want"? Do this now, while you have a job, and the unemployment question becomes moot.
posted by blue mustard at 7:48 AM on June 1, 2006

I've been in the same situation before. Go for the diplomatic solution first. Layout why it would be a step back - get support from co-workers - make a good case. If that doesn't work start raising your voice and take it higher up. Document everything.
Unemployment's not everything it's cracked up to be and there's no guarantee you'll get a job in the time you get benefits.
posted by DonnieSticks at 7:58 AM on June 1, 2006

Anonymous, it's your lucky day: I just had a conversation with a MN Employment Law Lawyer on this very topic. To summarize his advice to me (regarding a family member's situation not mine. I LOVE my job.):

You can quit and still be eligible for unemployment compensation under the "substantial change in working conditions" clause ONLY if the change is TRULY major. If they significantly alter your compensation, or if the general nature of your duties is REALLY different. The example he used was, If you are hired as a sales director in an office environment, and they change your duties to stocking in the warehouse, that is a substantial change. If they hire you as sales director and your new duties are working in the same office as a receptionist, that does not qualify as a substantial change, as long as they don't change your compensation significantly. So the bar is set VERY high to invoke that clause.

Obviously, if you have a signed contract that explicitly spells out your duties, this trumps the above rule of thumb, as any non-negotiated change to your duties would constitute breach of contract.

IANAL, but my advice is: Keep your head down and do your job search on your own time, or take the "honey" approach. Unemployment-wise, you don't have a leg to stand on.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 8:02 AM on June 1, 2006

Well, are you prepared to lie? If so, you can probably get unemployment.

If not, and you stick to everything you've said in this question ("The good ol' corporate reorg has gone down yet again and I may be working on something I really hate..." and "In an ideal world, I want to take the summer to regroup on my career goals, interview like hell and get the job I want. What would make this more palatable is unemployment"), I think you'd be very unlikely to receive unemployment benefits. Although a "substantial change in working conditions" can justify a quit, simply not liking your job assignment isn't going to cut it (otherwise, virtually everyone who quits would be entitled to unemployment).

So ... are you willing to perjure yourself?
posted by pardonyou? at 8:02 AM on June 1, 2006

Even if you are willing to lie, there have been cases where the State will interview the company you quit from, so it could turn into he said/they said situation and they have the documentation, so that isn't an option. Don't quit and expect to get unemployment. Either a) find a new job while working b) quit to find a new job and hope someone can help you out, or c) tough it out.
posted by edgeways at 8:13 AM on June 1, 2006

I know in IA the employers get sent a form that they have to fill out, with checkmarks for reasons you shouldn't get unemployment (like that you quit)
posted by delmoi at 9:54 AM on June 1, 2006

If the state contacts the company, don't count on them merely talking to some HR stiff. They will likely contact your immediate supervisor and get the story from them. You do have the right to appeal, but it doesn't sound like your particular circumstances would get you to qualify.
posted by Coffeemate at 10:48 AM on June 1, 2006

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