Friday, January 14, 2011

Toxic, Hostile Work Environments - What Should I do If I Want to Resign and be Eligible for Unemployment?

Philadelphia-Area Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

Representing Pennsylvania Employees Since 1991

Questions?  John will spend 5-10 minutes with you discussing your current work situation, a U5 claim, your disability/FMLA leave, your employment/non-compete contract, a separation agreement, your wage or overtime claim, your unemployment appeal or your potential lawsuit at no charge to you.  Call 610-647-5027.  John is usually available 24/7.

We Have All Felt That Way
A recent Article from Forbes.com sets forth the author's view of the "10 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job."  This is an excellent article, and the questions are insightful.

It focuses on people what want to quit their job because the environment at work as turned toxic. 

The first thing my clients want to know is "Will I get Unemployment if I Quit My Job?"  Typically, if one quite due to a poor work environment, the answer is "No."  However, there are exceptions to that rule. Primarily, it works like this: 1) the environment must truly be toxic (i.e. to the reasonable man or woman); 2) you must inform management of the situation and provide it with a real and true opportunity to fix the problem.

I am Being Bullied at Work - Is that Illegal and Can I Quit?

Not Illegal, Per Se
What does that mean?  What is a truly toxic situation?  Well, in the context of lawful "hostile work environment" (that is, one where the mistreatment does not exist because of your age, sex, race, religion, national origin, etc.) boss who yells a lot, curses, repeatedly invades your personal time, says highly critical things about you, gives unrealistic work assignments...I know, I know, sounds familiar!

What Does Employee at Will Mean?

Illegal to Treat an Employee Differently Due to Sex, Race, Age, etc.
Please bear in mind that, with rare exceptions, bullying is NOT illegal (if it was I would have retired years ago), so the situation must be truly extreme to justify the quit.  Because most of us are "employed at will," the only situation in which bullying is illegal under federal law (state and municipal laws may be different) is where it is the result of prejudice due to the employee's age, sex, race, disability, religious beliefs, pregnancy or national origin.

How do you give the company a chance to fix the problem?  Report it, preferably in writing (otherwise there is no evidence - giving the employer a chance to deny) and work with HR and wait a suitable time for things to prove, sending follow up e-mails each time a new (real) transgression arises.  Inform the company when you complain that the work environment is affecting your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Many Are Unhappy and Want to Quit -
Only Few Qualify for UC Benefits

After a reasonable time (depending on the circumstances), if your employer has not remedied the problem, you may be able to quit and get unemployment. 

The fact is, qualifying for unemployment following a resignation is very hard - you have to do things just so - and you may therefore want to consider retaining counsel to improve your odds. 

Can They Fire Me if I Take Family and Medical ("FMLA") Leave for Stress?

Taking FMLA Can Help Settle Things Down,
at the Same Time Preserving Your Job as You Seek a New Job

The time to act is when you first get an inkling that your tenure with the company is causing you more pain than it should (you are probably beyond that point by now).  Perhaps consider taking a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is one of my favorite tools, for a number of reasons.  then, apply for Short Term Disability....

Maybe, if you're lucky, taking all of the above steps will lead the company to fire you - since public employment records don't exist, you really don't have to worry about your "record" - and you may be eligible for unemployment.  However, do not count on such good fortune. Companies universally recognize that "a quit is always better than a fire."

John A. Gallagher, Esquire
Philadelphia Suburban Unemployment Attorney Representing Employees

John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania. 

John typically represents workers who need an employment lawyer in Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Berks County, Lancaster County and Montgomery County.

Unless You Want Help With Your Application,
Please Wait Until You have been Informed Regarding Your Eligibility


Pennsylvania Unemployment Employment Attorney Provides Free Telephone Consultations (15 Minutes in Duration)

If you are looking for an unemployment lawyer, and live in Paoli, Radnor, King of Prussia, Downingtown, Villanova, Doylestown, Lower Gwynedd, Newtown Square, Exton, Philadelphia, West Chester, Skippack, Langhorne, Ardmore, Nether Providence, Drexel Hill, Reading or any of their surrounding towns, feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.  I am always glad to spend some time with people via a free telephone consultation.

Need an Experienced Lawyer for an Unemployment Hearing Before a Referee in King of Prussia, Springfield, Bristol, Reading, Lancaster or Philadelphia?

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues

Click Here to e-mail John directly; Mr. Gallagher has handled hundreds of Referee Hearings throughout Pennsylvania.

Thanks for checking in with us.


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