Need Employment/Unemployment Input Please!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    As most know I've been unemployed for a while now and despite what it might look like, I have tried to find any kind of job I can. I keep hearing from potential employers that I am over-qualified and should be concentrating on getting a job in my profession and at the level I have experience with. Of course I would be happy with that but none seem to be hiring for that. And I had started suspecting that maybe my previous employer (for 10 out of past 15 years) was not giving me a good recommendation. (Here, if it's not a good recommendation, the person might comply with the law in info given out but that is considered a bad recommendation if that's all they say.)

    OK, so a couple of weeks ago this past employer and his wife show up at my yard sale and want to chat about how things are going and where difficult child is, etc. Weird I thought but fine. This week I rec''d a card from him with a GC in it. It wasn't at all out of line, like too personal or anything, and had been sent from the company address. I sent a thank you card back and plan to email or call him in a day or two. I want to call him to let him know that I'm sending resumes out, trying to leave this area (so he won't think I'm fishing to work for him again- I truly am not), and let him know if anyone calls for a reference from him for a position that seems too high for me, that the government's job description of that job is equivalent or requires less experience than what I had. Hopefully, I will be able to count on him for a good reference after that.

    But then, I was talking to my ins agent, who I've had for years and we've chatted about all sorts of things over time, and she said I needed to appeal the employment commission's decision not to give me unemployment. She thinks I have a good chance of getting it.

    I think I should have gotten it too under the circumstances, but my concern is that if the employment commission starts stirring up stuff with this ex-employer- like questioning how he documented a leave of absence- and then if this guy's company has to pay for unemployment (don't they have to foot the bill for part of it?), there would go any hope of improving a reference from him.

    Do I have the info correct about how unemployment works, and what do you think I should do?

    I'm a lot more concerned about maximizing chances for getting back into the work force. Given that I worked for that guy for so long, no matter what type of job I apply for, they will want to contact him for a reference. on the other hand, I could sure use the unemployment since I have no idea how long it will take to get back in the work force and I didn't do anything to warrant being fired.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  2. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I have no idea how it works in the USA for unemployment. However, since you are in such dire financial straights and believe this guy isn't giving you the best reference, here's what I'd do.

    I would contact him tomorrow to thank him for the the GC, and I'd ask him for a WRITTEN recommendation to attach to your resumes. Tell him not much at ALL. Just that you are busy putting out resumes in large volumes and attaching a written recommendation to your resume would put you above the competition in a highly competitive market. Tell him you could pick it up on Monday to ensure he has adequate time to prepare it. Don't tell him anything else, if he asks questions (friendly ones most likely) keep your answers short. If he asks again about difficult child, keep it simple. Tell him thank you for asking, difficult child is doing allright in a program out of the home and isn't expected to live with you again as he'll transition to independent living when his program is complete. No details. Period. Then make sure you pick up the letter and simply attach to all resumes if you continue to think his recommendation is hurting your job search. They likely won't call him and it is entirely appropriate to pick him as the one written recommendation seeing as he was a lengthy employer and the most recent really.

    AFTER you pick up the letter, follow through with your attempt to apply again for unemployment. You can't afford to not look into all of your options at this point. And too bad if he doesn't like it if he indeed has to pay a portion of your claim. That is something that is part of the job package when you worked there, period. It's his obligation to pay. If he contacts you to ask about your new claim for benefits, tell him that you were informed it was incorrect for you to have been denied and you are pursuing a claim out of necessity, nothing personal, simply seeking all avenues open to you and unemployment is a right for employees let go when they were good employees and not fired for cause or who haven't quit.

    I wouldn't at all stress this guy not liking it. I would get a letter of recommendation first, not at all indicating your intention to file for benefits.

    I continue to wish you luck. I know it isn't easy in this market to find a job. If worst comes to worst, pretend you haven't been employed (stay at home mom or something) and take a job anywhere, a supermarket, retail etc. I know that it stinks to have to minimize your resume and not disclose your field of work. However its dog eat dog and a persons gotta eat and put a roof over their heads. Then you just continue to apply in your field.
  3. tawnya

    tawnya New Member


    My dad just lost his job after 45 years, and we signed him up for unemployment. He contacts three businesses every week, but no one has ever checked. AND he actually calls or goes to every one.

    You can still actively look for work, but in the interim, I would apply. That's what it is for, right?

    I would be surprised if anyone ever checked on your old jobs or references.

    That's just how it works here.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I would definitely appeal the decision, and find out exactly what reason was given for your termination. I was let go from a job because I told the DM I was considering going back to school. The DM said that now I could go back to school full-time, and then told Unemployment I had been fired for gross misconduct. Not true. There were no write-ups, no nothing to back it up, and I got my unemployment.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Here people always check references. They usually don't do that until right before offering a job though- of course a reference that isn't good can cause them to change theiir mind about offering the job. Yes, I am aware there is a requirement to continue to look for employment but I'm doing that anyway. There is no advantage or disadvantage for being on unemployment while looking for a job- except if I apply for a position in my field, they do NOT like people who have ever drawn an unemployment check. It's my understanding that is because a company has to pay a certain portion of that unemployment and most of these are small businesses with their own financial stresses.

    As far as how this long-term job ended- I was having to take a lot of time off work due to difficult child-issues and resulting courts, meetings, etc, and many of these were without forewarning. While it had been that way for years, it had been somewhat sporadic until those last few months right before difficult child was committed to state Department of Juvenile Justice the first time (about 18 mos ago). At that point in time, the time away from work had increased dramatically and my employer and I agreed (although it was his idea) that I should take a leave of absence until difficult child's final court and this was resolved. 4 to 6 weeks later, I went back to that employer and told him I could return to work full time then because difficult child had been committed to Department of Juvenile Justice. He said he had already replaced me with two part-time people (meaning of course, he didn't have to pay benefits for them like I would have gotten back as a full-time employee), so they could not bring me back.

    From what I hear lately, he was 1) supposed to document that as a family leave of absence, which is perfectly legal, 2) he probably documented it as that I quit the job, 3) as a leave of absence, he would have needed to bring me back on full-time and since he didn't, I would have qualified for unemployment

    The second complication is that if I had filed within one year of that transpiring, I probably would have gotten unemployment right away. But since I had been told that I wouldn't quallify and didn't learn these other facts until the past couple of months, I didn't apply until about a month ago and they turned me down because I waited for over a year to apply. My ins agent said since I waited solely because I had been mis-informed, I should appeal. Plus, I have nothing to lose.

    Fine, unless it costs me a good reference and then I would be losing the only little hope I have left of getting back into the work force.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    K, I agree that you should appeal the decision about your unemployment benefits. You need the resources now, and if you're able to get them you should.

    Now, with regard to the references, there are ways to work around a bad one. I like Mattsmom's advice, to get a reference letter. That way it's in your possession and in your control. You can distribute it without having to worry about what your boss will say. I don't think employers set as much store by references as the HR/Personnel process would have you believe. I am on the reference list for several former employees, but I rarely get called to provide one.

    If you're getting a lot of feedback that you're overqualified for positions, then maybe you're providing a too thorough employment history. A resume doesn't have to provide ALL of the details, just the ones that are relevant to a given job. If you haven't already done so, I would rewrite your resume and completely tailor it to the types and levels of jobs you're applying to. There's nothing wrong in doing this -- employers are looking for someone with the right skills and aptitude to do the job for which they're hiring. If you happen to have a whole lot of other skills and experience, that's great, but not relevant to the immediate discussion.

    The cost to a company of hiring a new employee is approx 35% to 40% of the annual salary for the job. They don't want to incur those costs to hire someone, only to have to do it all over again in 6 months. What hiring managers are looking for is assurance that:
    - you have the skills and knowledge to do the job without a lot of extra work on their part, beyond whatever standard training they provide
    - you will fit in with and get along with the team
    - you won't cost them a lot of money by leaving a short time after you start

    Essentially, someone who will lighten their load rather than adding to it. If you can show a company why and how you are the person who will contribute to the team above and beyond the specific job description AND that you won't create extra work or worry for them, then it will greatly improve your chances. If you're applying for jobs that are "below" your skill and experience level, you can do this by showing them that you have just the right set of skills for the job, and you have experience in a wide range of fields that can help make you a better employee. If you have the same or better qualifications than the boss you might be working for, they might feel threatened that you'll end up taking their job, and they won't put competition in place.

    I hope some of this is helpful. I'm rambling a bit...

  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    First and foremost, employers cannot go to the state unemployment office and find out if a prospective employee has pulled unemployment. Nor, do I believe, can they legally ask you about it. You are right however, that employees do not like it when exemployees file unemployment claims. Our annual experience rate is based on claims for a particular 12 month look-back period. Experience rates change every year. If an employee files a claim, your rate goes up. Employers pay unemployment taxes quarterly. Our tax is based on the first 8K (differs from state to state) of income for each employee multiplied by our experience rate. On top of that, we also pay federal unemployment taxes of the first 7K of income for each employee.

    Oftentimes, unemployment issues become "he said, she said". The purpose of federal and state unemployment is to provide unemployment benefits to "eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own.'

    I know I have given you this information in a post before, but I'll provide it again.

    In order for you to take leave under FMLA, your employer has to be a covered employer. Meaning, they have to employ at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius. If they don't qualify based on the above, they are not subject to following or allowing FMLA benefit. That's not to say they won't, just that they are not legally responsible to do so.

    Also, the employee must have been employed by that covered employer for 12 months prior to requesting leave or worked at least 1,250 hours for a covered employer in the previous 12 months.

    If you were working for a company with over 50 employees and you wished to take leave based on FMLA, you would have to provide written notice to your employer at least 30 days prior to the effect of the leave (or as soon as practical in emergency cases). Additionally, if for medical reasons (both physical and mental) the employee must provide a "Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member's Serious Health Condition" form (Dept of Labor form). Employers may require that an employee's request for leave due to a serious health condition affecting the employee or a covered family member be supported by a certification from a health care provider. An employer may require second or third medical opinions (at the employer's expense) and periodic recertification of a serious health condition.

    I ramble on this way to show you that just you and the employer agreeing on leave does not constitute leave under FMLA. If you and the employer had a verbal agreement, you have absolutely no way to prove it. Additionally, devil's advocate here, if you went to claim unemployment, there is nothing preventing the employer from saying that he fired you and showed a time card or pay stubs, etc., proving how much work you missed as justification for letting you go.

    Don't want to burst your bubble here, but just wanted to make sure you had the info you needed to move forward. I will tell you that, in my experience, unless a company is really small (like mine) many employers don't fight unemployment claims because they can be very expensive and time consuming. However, with this economy, many employers who never have unemployment claims are getting them and we are all paying more! More folks without a job and more taxes for small businesses. A no-win for all!

    I'm sorry this got so lengthy, but I wanted to make sure you saw the whole picture. I really like the idea of getting a letter of reference from the past employer. I'm not sure why he/they would give you a bad reference though. They would have absolutely nothing to gain.

    Good luck.

  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It's all that law that I'm confused about. I get the part that he wouldn't have had to allow it and could have required me to submit a letter ahead of time and so forth- but he chose not to require that and as a matter of fact, this was his idea. So that's what I'm not sure about. Also, I should mention, I don't think he would blatantly lie over anything, even this. Skew things a little to CYA, maybe, but not directly lie to a point-blank question.

    Now, I'm more than happy to appeal and let the emplpoyment commission figure it out. Except for this- if I only have a 1% chance of getting it but it's going to result in making re-employment somewhere else 100 times harder, then it isn't worth it to me. I'm sorry that it might cost a lot of people a lot of trouble, but honestly, he should have called and told me if I couldn't come back by a certain time I would lose the opportunity or something. If he used this as an opportunity to lay me off, then he needs to step up to the plate and treat it as such, in my humble opinion.

    ETA: Ohhhh...never mind- I just rec'd an email from South Africa saying I could invest in a company there and become rich so all my problems are solved!!

    Sorry- just throwing in a little Occupational Therapist (OT) humor- but I really did receive an email saying that so be on the look out for more scammers using email.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just received that same email - the president of the country has 1.3 million to invest and needs my help! Our financial dreams have come true!!!!
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well we can all finally afford that private CD island with all the amenities we've been dreaming about on our virtual parties!

    Maybe we can even afford a second island to put all the difficult children on!