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?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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