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I quit my job because my manager is verbally abusive, basically bullying me. Can I file for unemployment?

Staten Island, NY |

I work fast food and the recent manager is verbally abusive to everyone. MORE to me as I'm the only cook. He would scream at me to work faster. When ask for help during a food rush he would call me incompetent. Most recently he would elbow me thoughout the day.

If I am washing dishes or something he would scream my name across the building to do other task that I am not ready to do. If ask for a few mins to myself during a 10hr shift, he would call me lazy.

I left and I know he is violating over a dozen of the companies policies, what should i do? I want to file unemployment due to my manager creating a hostile work environment. And I refuse to work in an environment where I am elbowed and yelled at throughout the day.

I plan on writing everthing down on paper and present it to the corporate office but not sure if that is what I should do.

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Attorney answers 3


Absent a contractual agreement, most employment in New York is considered to be employment at will. In an employment at will situation, a person can be terminated at any time, without reason. However, there are a number of exceptions to an employment at will termination. If someone is being terminated and that person's civil rights have been violated in any way, such as age discrimination, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, race or gender discrimination, failure to accommodate a medical condition, etc. Also, if termination is any way retaliatory for whistle blowing or some other act, an employer may be liable for wrongful discharge. Generally, unemployment may denied in situations of willful disobedience or if a former employee engaged in theft from his prior employer. It would be in your best interests to consult with an attorney so that the circumstances can be fully vetted and so that you can get advice as to what your legal options might be.

William J. Lasko
Law offices of Wm Lasko
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William J. Lasko is an experienced New York, Connecticut and Washington, D. C., licensed attorney who focuses his practice primarily on employment law, personal injury and estate matters. Mr. Lasko, has been in practice for more than 23 years, represents clients throughout New York, Connecticut and Washington, D. C.. More information is available at This response is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Additionally, this response does not create an attorney client relationship.


The reality is that your employer is likely to dispute your allegations, and you will end up with a hearing on unemployment benefits.


I agree with the answers by the other lawyers but I would tell you to definitely pursue unemployment compensation. Although you quit, if you were there a long time and the troublesome boss ("recent manager") replaced someone with whom you worked for a time without problems, you must tell the hearing examiner about the prior boss or bosses. Also bring up previous jobs if you held any for a long time without problems. If you testify properly about the correct issues you should be able to get the compensation but your chances will be better still if you are represented by counsel at the hearing. I'm sure there are employment lawyers on Staten Island who would represent you and the expense is better than no job and no comp.
If you have any witnesses to the manager's abusive behavior, you might even have a wrongful termination or discrimination case.

This answer is not intended to be legal advice in a lawyer/client relationship. Misunderstanding of the answer or use of the answer for any illegal purpose is not the responsibility of the writer. The answer to any question in the Avvo website is constrained by the limited content of the question, an incomplete description of the facts underlying the question or a wrongful motivation for the question.

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