If I get called back to work for a different position and must take a drug test, what happens to my unemployment benefits ifI don’t pass?

I have been laid off since June. My position was eliminated but I have been offered a 6 month winter contract (with the same company). I need to take a drug test and I’m concerned that I may not pass. Can the company terminate my unemployment benefits?

Asked on October 4, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is a good chance you could loose your benefits. When receiving unemployment, one is under an obligation to take comparable work; assuming the position you are being offered is not radically different in a bad way (MUCH lower pay; much longer communte; requires education or credentials you don't have; etc.), it's almost by definition that a contract with the same company will be deemed comparable. If that's the case, then refusing the contract could result in you being ineligible for unemployment--especially since this company will have an economic incentive to report to the unemployment office that you were offered and refused employment. Companies want the least unemployment "charged" against them as is possible.


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