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Unemployment compensation issues Pennsylvania

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  • Unemployment compensation issues Pennsylvania

    I worked for a "gentleman" in New Jersey for over eight months. He told me that I "didn't have a job anymore" in January. It was a start up company. He went through his start up capital very quickly and very questionably.

    I was paid a set salary per week. Originally, I was to work out of the office in New Jersey two days a week, but he required me to be there between five and seven days most weeks without ever paying overtime.

    I realize that it was not a true "hostile" work environment under the labor laws. He was constantly yelling, cursing, and throwing things (tools, sharp objects, etc.). I was almost grateful when I found out I would not have to go back to deal with his tantrums and drug use.

    When I filed for unemployment, I knew it would be an uphill battle, but I did not know it would be this complex. I suspected he had never mailed in the paperwork I had given him to file with PA or NJ. I know for a fact he still has not registered his business with his NJ Township.

    Unemployment now has me in limbo. I have provided them a copy of a paycheck that he provided me. He literally lit the paystub I created in Word on fire when he signed the check. He used that paper to light his drugs.

    Originally, PA told me that they would have to investigate to see if I was an independent contractor or an employee. They finally paid me for two weeks of benefits, but have now stopped. All they will tell me is that it is under investigation. I even had one UI worker tell me that I may have suspected being fired for complaining about the illegal drugs on the premise but that was legal since PA was a right to work state.

    What can I do to help speed this process along? I can't even get the gentleman handling the case at UI to call me back.

  • #2
    I even had one UI worker tell me that I may have suspected being fired for complaining about the illegal drugs on the premise but that was legal since PA was a right to work state.

    You mean PA is an "at will" employment State. Right to work has to do with your not being forced to join a union in order to be employed.

    I don't know of anything you can do to move the process along. It simply takes as long as it takes. It appear there are two issue (1) did your employer pay the UC taxes he was required to pay (I'd guess not), and (2) were you separated for a reason that would allow you to collect benefits. It certainly sounds like you were - a job elimination - but who knows what hooey, if anything, your ex-boss has told them.

    I'm afraid you're just going to have to wait and let the UC Division's process continue on it's own snail-like pace.

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    • #3
      Since your job was in NJ and the employer is in NJ, you are covered by NJ's Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). Even if you did not report the illegal drugs in the workplace outside of the company, and only threatened to do so, you have whistleblower protection (only in NJ). Most employers settle these cases without going to court because they're a pain in the behind, and insurance carriers just say "settle." It's certainly not clear here, but you might have a CEPA claim.
      While you're waiting for unemployment to get worked out, you might want to look into a claim under CEPA.

      http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/for.../CEPA270.1.pdf

      If you google attorney nj CEPA wrongful termination
      you'll find lots of lawyers who love doing these claims.

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