Can I refuse a job from a company that fired me and still collect unemployment?

I worked at a restaurant for 9 years. The first 3 years as a server, The next 5 years as a prep cook. I was miserable as a prep cook there and went back to serving. I was fired 9 months later. I am now collecting unemployment. The restaurant has now called and offered me the prep cook position again. I don’t want to take a position that I was so unhappy at from a company that fired and humiliated me. Can I refuse this position and still collect unemployment? I know they only offered it so they don’t have to pay my unemployment.

Asked on October 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, just to correct something: the employer does not pay your unemployment. Unemployment is paid by the state. While the amount of unemployment contributions the employer has to make goes up with unemployment claims against it, it only goes up slightly, so it will cost them more to employ you than to payy the extra contributions.

Second, if the prep cook job is more-or-less comparable in salary to what you were making as a server, then you would have to take the job or else risk losing your eligibility for unemployment; you are not allowed to turn down a job that is of a similar level to what you had been doing and still collect unemployment.


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