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Unemployment denied because my job is claiming I quit- really I was laid off! My position was eliminated.

New York, NY |

I was hired by a medical practice to work for one of their doctors in May 2013. I was employed by the practice, but my entire job role was with one specific doctor. In January 2014 that doctor told me he had been given a 60 day notice that his contract with them would be severed, and that my job would be eliminated. He started his own practice, but was not able to offer me a position as he needed to downsize. My last day of work was the last day of his contract. I filed for unemployment the next week, but the practice is claiming that I quit my job to return to school (they knew I had been accepted into a program, but I never even put notice in or told them I was going to go). How can I prove I was laid off? The practice refused to put anything in writing despite multiple requests from me.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. You ask how can you prove that you were laid off. If your request goes to a hearing, you can prove it in at least two ways. First, you can provide your own testimony at the hearing. Better evidence would be an affidavit by the doctor who lost his contract and told you that your job was eliminated. Hearsay evidence, such as an affidavit from the doctor, is admissible at such an administrative hearing for what it is worth (see, Labor Law section 622: "The appeal board and the referees, in hearings and appeals under any provision of this article, shall not be bound by common law or statutory rules of evidence or by technical or formal rules of procedure but may conduct the hearings and appeals in such manner as to ascertain the substantial rights of the parties.") Good luck.

    The information contained in this answer is attorney advertising and it is not intended that the recipient rely on this answer. Legal advice is only provided on the execution of an appropriate retainer agreement. This answer furnished by Holman Law, P.C. does not, by itself, create an attorney-client relationship between you and Holman Law.

  2. The judge at the hearing will call the doctor by telephone. Ask the doctor to be available at his office number or cell phone number.

  3. The outcome will be fact specific. The principal question in a UI appeal is whether the claimant is unemployed through no fault of his/her own. The first issue is the initial cause of unemployment; whether you were laid off because your employment was discontinued, or, less likely, whether you opted to stop work. The second and perhaps more important issue is why you are without work at the present. If you planned to go back to school, and you did return to school, then you are no longer "able and available" for work. In other words, you have chosen to withdraw from the work force, to go to school, and therefore you are not employed because of your own action, and not because the practice laid you off.

    The correct answer will depend on the law as it is applied in your State. The outcome on the same facts may vary from State to State. Consult a local attorney.

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