Can I file unemployment if I was hired under false pretenses?

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Can I file unemployment if I was hired under false pretenses?

I have a acceptance letter that states I was hired for a position I applied to. After 2 days of training I was not placed on next weeks schedule. I contacted Human Resources about the schedule. I received a call 2 days later after calling for 3 days straight and stopping in to see when I worked next. I received a call for work and when I arrived they put me in a different position with lower pay. I felt very unwelcomed in my new work environment and frustrated. I quit. Can I file unemployment? I live have documentation of everything that happened.

Asked on May 3, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, an acceptance letter does not constitute a legally enforceable contract. Typically, you are free to accept and back out of the offer anytime you like and quit the job any time you like; the same holds true for your employer. And without an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, you are an "at will" worker. This means that your company can set the conditions of your employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). This includes demoting you and reducing your pay. Accordingly, if you quit based on this action, it will be deemed a "voluntary" departure so you will be ineligible to collect unemployment benefits.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't, not unless you had an actual written employment contract (not just an acceptance letter) for a defined term (e.g. a one year contract), which also stated or defined your position. In the absence of a contract, the employer can change your position at will, regardless of whether you agree to the change--it's 100% up to the employer. Since they'd have the right to redefine your job or reassign, etc. you, if you quit or resign, that will be a voluntary separation from employment on your part and you will not be eligible for unemployment.
If you do have a written employment contract and they violated it, you could sue them for breach of contract.


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