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Do I have any obligation to return to an employer who laid me off? After filing for unemployment insurance, ex-boss is calling.

Clarence, NY |

After a surviving a tumultuous and hostile work environment in Nov,December and into Jan 2014 my previous employer finally created enough reasoning for himself to let me go by "laying me off" this past Friday. He said there was "no work coming in" However he would not assign me work or let me work on cases that could've been worked on for unknown reason. It was clear that he was trying to terminate me. . Even after all I have been through/put up with, I went out a classy note. I just thank him for the time at the firm and shook his hand. This caught him offguard. He stated that if some work would come along he would hire me "off the books" on a case basis.No thanks. I filed for unemployment. After 3 days being gone he is calling me back.I have changed my mind about working there everagain.

Because I have been "laid off" I’m eligible for UI in NY. The ex-boss does not like to pay for claims.He is now trying to avoid this by calling me back. I have since rethought things and the hostile work environment I was working in. I put up with mths of being berated. I encountered health problems as a result of his inflicted stress. I filed for UI and have been actively seeking new jobs. Employees at the ex-employer believe that he’s trying to stop me from getting UI by now offering me a job back.There are no details& no offer.There will be nothing in writing ever.It’s a bad situation and I don’t want to return.People have told me that he will fight my unemployment if I don’t return his phone calls or comeback to some sort of work that he offers me.I don't think I should be obligated to go back to that situation

Attorney Answers 2


  1. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you cannot refuse work, unless you can prove that conditions are so intolerable you cannot work there.

    The information provided above is for general purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Seek competent legal representation, because the facts of each case are different.


  2. 1. You never have to accept work off the books. Work off the books is illegal work.
    2. If the work is legitimate, then it is likely that if you refuse it you may lose your unemployment benefits.
    3. If you were experiencing a hostile work environment, as in an environment in which you experienced either discrimination, sexual harassment or retaliation, then you should be sitting down with an experienced employment attorney for a free consultation immediately.

    This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction.

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