Can my boss get out of paying my unemployment benefits if I refuse to follow up on the unsolicited, undesirealbe job leads he keeps bombarding me with?

As of yesterday, I was laid off from a dying subset of an industry I’ve worked in for many years and very much enjoy. As of yet, I have not filed for my unemployment benefits. Though I love my industry, I have absolutely no interest in returning to the subset of that industry. There is no job security, benefits are rare, it’s not where the vast majority of my experience lies and it’s below my educational level. I have begun my search for quality employment in order to get my career and life back on track. I was only in the subset industry for a year and a half. However, my former boss who obviously does not want to pay for my unemployment benefits keeps calling me and emailing me job leads in the subset industry he just laid me off from. Are my unemployment benefits at risk if I refuse to follow up on the employment leads that former boss is sending me, even though I am conducting my own job search and sending out resums left and right?

Asked on September 10, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you do not pursue (and if offered, take) a comparable job (similar level, title, duties, and pay as your last job) in your industry and the labor department becomes aware of that, you could be denied unemployment benefits. The law requires you to look for and accept comparable employment--i.e. employment like the job you lost--even if you would prefer a different job in a different field; you are not allowed to hold out for an ideal or better job when you could get a job like your old one back.


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