Will I receive unemployment if my employer eliminated my job, offered me another but it’s doesn’t have the same hours?

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Will I receive unemployment if my employer eliminated my job, offered me another but it’s doesn’t have the same hours?

I currently work midnight’s and the hours they offered me will not work. My husband works long hours and I have 4 kids to take care of. I have to do the same hours and days as I was. However, they told me that if I don’t except the new hours and job I will have to quit.

Asked on December 17, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You *may* be eligible for unemployment: you would argue that since they were offering you completely different hours than you had accepted the job for, especially while knowing that you could not work those hours, they were "constructively," or effectively, firing you by making it impossible for you to do your job. When an employee is constructively terminated, he or she may be eligible for unemployment compensation. However, this argument is an uphill one--it is not a given that you would win under it, since normally an employer has a right to change employee hours and employees need to work the hours they are told. Most changes in shifts (or location) are not considered constructive termination; only a minority are, and only when the unemployment office truly believes that there was no reasonable way you could have done the job with the new hours. Since there are alternatives--maybe not good ones, but potential ones, like your husband adjusting his hours; child care--the unemployment office could conclude that you simply did not want to work the new hours, which is not enough to consider you constructively terminated. Therefore, while if you lose your job, you should  apply for unemployment benefits and should make this argument, you cannot count on winning, and do not make plans based on the assumption you will be eligible for unemployment.


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