I “voluntarily” left a restaurant I was working at while collecting unemployment benefits from my previous full-time job while attending nursing school. This was a PT job.
Due to increased stress from lack of work and an impending lay-off I couldn't afford the stress from lack of work and no income while in school full time
In the few months that I was working, I was sent home early on many occasions. Once or twice in fact, before my shift even started due to the low customer volume.
More than once, head chef and co-owner of the establishment would ask me if I had any ideas on how to bring more customers in. I volunteered many times to go out in front of the store dressed as a character to get people to come in but the closest I got was to stand out on a street corner one afternoon and hand out coupons. The owners and managers seemed to be doing everything that they could have done to help the business but things never changed. Every shift that I worked would show how disgruntled the other employees were at the way things were progressing. They too were getting sent home and they voiced their opinions much louder and more often than I. After a special fundraiser held at the restaurant one evening there was verbal fighting going on at the end of the night between the managers and some of the wait staff due to the lack of business the restaurant had that night. Confrontations like that made me uncomfortable. As time progressed, things didn’t improve and moral was low and the wait staff became more tense. The management mentioned almost every night of work, “if customer numbers do not increase, there will be lay-offs.”
In the letter I received from unemployment it stated that I voluntarily left the position to pursue school, but I was already currently enrolled in school, I did not leave this position to pursue schooling. As mentioned above it was a very hostile environment and I was constantly being sent home with no income for my scheduled work days.
I found this environment too stressful to deal with. I enjoyed working with the managers and owners but to be sent home unexpectedly on too many occasions and having to deal with the disgruntled employees was too much for me and I wanted to end things on good terms.
NJ states from the time I left 4/2010 until 10/2010, I will be expected to pay back $13,400.
I am planning on appealing, but I want to make sure my letter back to the state is just and sound based on the information I provided here.
Any suggestions? Please.