if the building that I worked in burned up, can I claim unemployment as a displaced worker?

I had been with the company almost 9 years. They have relocated to another borough even farther than the initial location. It would take me anywhere from 1:45-2 hours in transport. Also, my employer had no smoke detectors in the building. It was a 3 story building. I found out about the fire through all smoke coming through my window. I assumed it was a fire across from us as that was the direction of the wind pushing the smoke around. I then closed the window as was going to call 911 for them when I noticed smoke seeping through the floor borders. Can and should I sue them for life endangerment?

Asked on February 6, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) There is no such thing as a suit for "life endangerment": the law only provides compensation for what actually occured, not what might have. (So if you were injured, you could sue for your medical costs, for example; and if you'd been killed, your family might have had a wrongful death claim.)
2) A 1:45hr to 2hr commute is not far enough to definitely entitle you to unemployment compensation--many people in the greater NY area, for example, commute that far every day (I used to, for about two years). But it's on the edge: it might be far enough. You won't know until you try to apply and see what unemployment does; it is worthwhile for you to apply and give it a shot.


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