Hi, this question is regarding unemployment law. I currently reside in Colorado/ Denver working in Aurora. My hours have been significantly reduced from 35-40 now to 20-30. I want to quit and collect unemployment, I'm pregnant and the reduction of...
A possiblity exists that you could obtain unemployment benefits if you quit under the circumstances that you describe. The unemployment statutes provide for a full award of benefits if an employee quits because of an
"Unreasonable reduction in the worker's rate of pay as determined by the division [of labor and employment]. In determining whether or not there has been an unreasonable reduction in the worker's rate of pay, the division shall consider, but shall not be limited to a consideration of, whether or not the reduction in pay was applied by the employer to all workers in the same or similar class or merely to this individual, the general economic conditions prevailing in the state, the financial condition of the employer involved, and whether or not the reduction in wage was agreed to by other workers employed in the same or similar work."
Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-73-108(4)(e); see generally Wargon v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office, 787 P.2d 668 (Colo. App. 1990) (compensation reduction when compensation system changed from salary to commissions).
Of course, you will take some risk if you quit and apply for unemployment benefits. No absolute guarantee exists that the division will award benefits under the balancing criteria quoted above. The employer may be able to show financial distress that made your reduction in hours unavoidable. The employer, however, may decide not to challenge your application for unemployment benefits which will make the possibility of obtaining benefits increase substantially.
If the employer reduced your hours because you became pregnant or because the employer wants you to quit due to fear of reduced productivity after your baby is born, then the employer may have violated the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act and/or the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.
~Paul D. Godec, Esq.See question