Can I collect unemployment?

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Can I collect unemployment?

My daughter completed her scheduled shift, plus a little over, on Saturday. She called her boss to let her know she was leaving and it was getting busy, although 2 other people were working, and if she was coming in. Her boss told her to stay put she was on her way. She waited an additional 30 minutes then her co-worker told her her boss texted her the co-worker and told her to stay and to close. She had already made plans and had a prior engagement to go to. She relayed this info to her boss and she told her if she valued her job she would stay a few more hours. She did leave after working well past her completed shift. Her boss then told her via text that because she left she takes it as her quitting. She replied she didn’t quit, she completed her shift, had a prior engagement, which she knew about. My daughter then told her she will see her in the morning for her scheduled shift and she told her the morning of her shift that her husband is there for her shift. She has since made changes to the previous week schedule by trying to erase her end time. She never received her tips from that night, her request went unanswered. Her last check did not include her cash tips from Saturday. She has not been put on the schedule and her boss keeps telling her she quit by leaving on Saturday, even though she worked an hour past her shift end.

Asked on March 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your boss told you to stay and you left, that is quitting: quitting can be done by action, not just words, and walking out on your job can be reasonably taken to be quitting. It doesn't matter if you stayed past your normal shift--your employer can change or extend your shift at will, without notice, and determines when you have to work. It doesn't matter if there was a pre-existing plan or engagement--the employer does not have to respect or even acknowledge that. Employment is "employment at will": that means, among other things, that your employer tells you when to work and if you refuse to work when the employer says to, you have walked out on the job and quit.
So on the facts you describe, while you can certainly apply for unemployment and contest the boss's description of what happens--and you might win: the unemployment examiners are human, so you can't predict in advance what they will always decide--on the face of it, you are not entitled to unemployment benefits.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your boss told you to stay and you left, that is quitting: quitting can be done by action, not just words, and walking out on your job can be reasonably taken to be quitting. It doesn't matter if you stayed past your normal shift--your employer can change or extend your shift at will, without notice, and determines when you have to work. It doesn't matter if there was a pre-existing plan or engagement--the employer does not have to respect or even acknowledge that. Employment is "employment at will": that means, among other things, that your employer tells you when to work and if you refuse to work when the employer says to, you have walked out on the job and quit.
So on the facts you describe, while you can certainly apply for unemployment and contest the boss's description of what happens--and you might win: the unemployment examiners are human, so you can't predict in advance what they will always decide--on the face of it, you are not entitled to unemployment benefits.


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