Is it legal to deny unemployment insurance after refusal of a demotion?

5 months go, my employer placed me (and dozens of others) on a forced furlough. Last month, I was told I would not be brought back and that I could continue collecting unemployment insurance. Today, I received a call from my employer offering a position at the company, but the position is a demotion from my previous position. In fact, the position is very low-paying and far out of line with what I was earning previosly. I suspect they are offering me this position in hopes that I turn it down, so that I can stop collecting unemployment insurance. Is this legal?

Asked on September 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You need to accept jobs that are even roughly comparable with your former on, especially in terms of pay. At a certain point, a job is so far beneath or below what you had been doing, that you are not expected or required to take it, but there is no hard and fast rule for when that occurs.

You should contact the unemployment insurance office and discuss the situation with them; they can provide guidance as to what would likely happen if you refuse this job. Also check out the unemployment rules in your state--there are some situations in which you can collect partial unemployment while working a low paying or part time job. Finally, even if the job is much lower than you're used to, if it's more than you are receiving for UI, you may wish to consider taking it.

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