Being moved off-site, if I quit can I get unemployment?
July 28, 2008 6:56 PM   Subscribe

My boss told me that my group will be moved off-site in the next month or two. The new location is about 1/2 mile away from the people that I interact with multiple times daily. Can I get unemployment if I quit?

My group interacts with 2 other groups constantly but we're being moved down the street into a new building. These other groups contain most of my friends and all of the people I would consider my peers. The others in my group are mostly related by title. One of my peers put it bluntly, "The average IQ of your co-workers just dropped drastically." Adding insult we will be co-habitating with people that talk on the phone all day and be moved from private offices to cubes.

I don't intend to stay with the company _because_ of this. I was actually quite happy before this but I find it insulting and dishonest. I was hired on at less than the big guys pay because of the better work environment.

I'm feeling a bit spiteful and the sooner I leave the more it will hurt the company. I don't expect to have any trouble finding a job but the safety net of unemployment would be nice. Can I quit now and collect? Would I have to wait until I've been moved? If I get into an argument with my boss and he fires me could I collect?

I know you are not my lawyer. This is in Oregon.
posted by IronSurfer to Work & Money (18 answers total)
Have you brought this up to your boss?
posted by judge.mentok.the.mindtaker at 7:04 PM on July 28, 2008

I'm sorry that this doesn't directly answer your question, but I think it might help.

Your best safety net is to stay in your current job until you have another offer in hand.
posted by zippy at 7:04 PM on July 28, 2008

Can I get unemployment if I quit?

posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:09 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Why don't you call the unemployment office. I know here in Iowa you may be able to get some benefits if you quit due to a change in job duties.
posted by delmoi at 7:13 PM on July 28, 2008

Also - the economy is about to take a huge massive dump. Don't be so sure that those jobs you are counting on are going to be there for very long. And, once the economy dives, you'll look back on the days in which being put in a cube could make you mad enough to quit. I'm just saying....get that other job first.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:15 PM on July 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

The law may have changed since the last time I looked, but what I recall about Oregon employment law was that if you quit, you had to wait six months before you could start collecting unemployment.

I also believe that legally it's different if you are "laid off" and if you are "fired for cause". I am pretty sure that in the latter case there's also a waiting period.

The reasoning is pretty obvious: to give you an incentive to stay in your job, and to not anger your boss. The only time they permit you to start collecting unemployment immediately is if you lose your job without it being your fault in any way.
posted by Class Goat at 7:15 PM on July 28, 2008

Have you considered giving this a chance? Yes, you won't be able to run down the hall at every question. But it could force everyone to be more productive.
posted by theichibun at 7:19 PM on July 28, 2008

See "Disqualifications" on this page. The relevant bit seems to be/ "You are disqualified if: [...] You voluntarily left work without good cause."

You can probably make a case that you have a good cause. But it's probably worth getting the advice of a lawyer with experience in this, who can tell you exactly which points you should (not) make to meet the department's definition.

It might even be worth calling the unemployment people themselves to ask. You probably don't have to give your name, just ask if this sounds to them like the type of thing that would qualify -- just to find out if it fits into "definitely" or "maybe" or "it's a long shot."
posted by winston at 7:29 PM on July 28, 2008

I don't know about the unemployment but may I suggest a few things:
1. Don't quit until the move happens. Moves sometimes don't.
2. Don't deliberately hurt your company. The world is bad enough without spite.
3. If the company negotiated a lower salary with you due to the good work environment, perhaps you can renegotiate a higher one instead of leaving (or at least give it a shot before you quit).
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:29 PM on July 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

Almost definitely you won't qualify. There are cases where you can quit and receive benefits, but those are very rare and egregious cases. 1/2 mile and losing an office just won't cut it.

If you want to stay in the same building, find out who the decision maker is and lobby them with a business case for staying.
posted by gjc at 7:40 PM on July 28, 2008

It's a lot easier to get another job while you still have access to the office laser printer and phones.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:54 PM on July 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

Yeah, maybe you should be the only one who stays, due to how closely you in particular have to work with these particular co-workers. It'd be easier to convince them you're an exception than to convince them to call off a move that's scheduled.
posted by salvia at 11:25 PM on July 28, 2008

I hear you.
Bait and switch sucks, happened to me before. I dont see a graceful way out of this. Unemployment is unlikely to work, and if you had the conditions described in your contract... well maybe you could threaten to sue and get them to lay you off with severance. Anyway, just commiserating. I've been there, it sucks.
posted by aeighty at 11:47 PM on July 28, 2008

You can't collect unemployment because you're feeling spiteful about an office move. If I understand correctly, this is a half mile office relocation. This is unlikely to be considered a hardship to your continued employment.

You are welcome to quit, but unemployment is unlikely. If you'll be truly unhappy working down the street, then you should start looking for another job pronto.
posted by 26.2 at 12:55 AM on July 29, 2008

As my dad said to me on many occasions earlier in my career, "The unemployment lines of the world are filled with people who thought the place couldn't run with them."
posted by imjustsaying at 4:11 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

It is the 'feeling spiteful' thing that will get you down in the end. Think in "win-win" scenario's. The company wants to move your team off because it is probably a lot cheaper and basically you do not need the facilities the current place is offering to achieve the same goals. Do not blame the company for trying to make 'sound' business decisions which help you and all of your colleagues to keep their jobs.

On the other hand you could argue with your boss how 'sound' the business decision is to move you off to a different location. Your team might benefit from a liaison officer on the floor with the other 2 teams which may compensate for the extra cost. You could also try to join one of those 2 teams if they are really your 'peers'. What do you exactly add to those 2 teams that needs direct face-to-face contact apart from that you have fun with those people? You could meet them after work if they are your friends or arrange work/lunch meetings.

If this does not work out for you I would go out and find another job. Don't quit before you got another offer and do not burn your bridges. Again it's that feeling spiteful thing (not seeing the whole picture, self centered) that will make you really have to go on the dole in the end. You may want to consider doing some business school courses. Learn to build your case and get what you want.
posted by Mrs Mutant at 6:45 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Speaking as someone who is currently looking for a job without one, do NOT quit until you have something else lined up. I would give anything to have a crappy job I hate to go to while I job hunt. I wouldn't want to work away from other departments in cubicles either, but it's not like your actual job duties are going to change. In other words, I'm not debating whether you should leave but please find another job first.

A decision to move an entire facility involves a lot of money and doesn't happen overnight. You can talk to your boss but your leaving is not going to change anything unless your job is absolutely mission critical (and few are). I would start quietly looking for something else and keep doing your job to the best of your ability. Do not try to enlist any of your co-workers to leave with you or drops hints to your boss so he knows what a bad idea this move is going to be. You'll only be hurting yourself. In the end, you'll be thankful you took the high road and left with class. That satisfaction of "screwing" your boss\company is short-lived, but the bad references and hard feelings can last forever.
posted by bda1972 at 9:17 AM on July 30, 2008

Update I have an offer for another, better, much higher paying job.

I've cooled of a bit and my plan is to leave "on good terms" if my boss wants to make an issue of it, that's his deal.

Thanks for the advice.
posted by IronSurfer at 9:18 PM on July 30, 2008

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