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  • Unemployment Assistance

    My co-worker had been at our company for 11+ years. She was terminated about a week ago with no verbal or written warnings prior. They simply let her go, saying something about how "there was no room for her any more." When she applied for unemployment, the company then insisted that she had been fired and not laid off.

    Can this person receive any help? I believe she was wrongly terminated and did nothing to prompt being let go. I know Maryland is at-will, but they are unwilling to let her collect unemployment while she gets back on her feet. After 11 years of service, you would think there'd be some help available.

    Any ideas?

  • #2
    I'm not sure what "help" you're looking for. First of all, the law doesn't require she receive any verbal or written warnings. And actually, it is to her advantage for unemployment purposes that there are none, as this implies that there was no violation of any company policies that might cause the state to determine she would not qualify for UI benefits. Secondly, "fired" and "lay-off" are still involuntary terminations. Thirdly, "wrongul termination" means that the employer violated a specific law or public policy by terminating her for XX reason. The great majority of individuals receiving UI benefits were not "wrongfully terminated".

    Did she file for UI and was disqualified? If so, what reason did the state give?
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    • #3
      Actually the company was correct. She as fired. Laid off means that she is temporarily being placed off work and will be recalled at some future point. The DLLR determines UI benefits, not the employer. If she was just terminated a week ago, I can promise you that the state has not made their decision yet. Expect it to take a few weeks before she gets her first check.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #4
        I suppose there's not much in the way of "wrongful" termination. My co-worker has applied for UI, but the decision is of course several weeks away. I found a few resources that would help her in the mean time, and I think she stands a very good chance of receiving something to help her along.

        My only bone of contention is that the owners say that she was fired, but they told her there was simply no more work for her there and that she had to move along. No notice or anything, just pack up and leave. I don't know how much this sort of distinction impacts her chances of getting UI.

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        • #5
          For some reason, a great many people believe that all the UI office has to hear is the word "fired" and benefits will immediately be denied. That is not the case. The exact reason for the termination of employment ALWAYS matters.

          "Fired" does not mean that the employee did something wrong or is in some way at fault. It means that the employer, for whatever reason, does not foresee that the employee will be recalled to work. It can mean anything from there being no work available to the employee being guilty of gross misconduct, and anything in between. But it is not technically a layoff unless there is a real expectation of recall.

          If there is no work for her and there is no reasonable expectation of recall, that is a firing. It doesn't mean she'll be denied UI because they call it what it is.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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          • #6
            That really helps to clarify the issue. Thank you!

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