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Do I have a legal case against my part time employer because they told me to stop claiming unemployment benefits?

San Rafael, CA |

I worked very part time while also collecting unemployment benefits from a previous job where I was laid off. As required by law, I reported the earnings from my part time work when claiming benefits. My employer at my part time job then passed on a message to me via my direct supervisor that I needed to stop claiming unemployment benefits from them because I was not eligible for them. I was intimidated and worried about jeopardizing my job, so I stopped my claims, even though I was eligible for further benefits from my former employer. From what I understand this is an illegal practice. Do I have a legal case against a company who told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to continue claiming unemployment benefits? I am now in trouble with the EDD as a result of this situation.

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Attorney answers 1


Somethong does not make sense here:

IF your claim for benefits was proper, and
IF you stopped claiming benefits on the demand of your employer,
then why would you be in trouble now with EDD?

EDD doesn't care at all if persons eligible for benefits stop claiming or decline to claim.

So, if you are trouble with EDD, what's the story?

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You're right, there is more to the story, I didn't have the space to share it above. I continued working for my part time employer (let's call that Company K) after stopping my claims as they requested. I eventually found another part time job, let's call that Company W. I continued to work for Company K and W, but after a year of employment at Company W, I was laid off, so I was once again eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Based on my previous experience, I was concerned that if I reported my wages from Company K while claiming unemployment benefits, that Company K would be notified and they would once again tell me to stop my claims. So I failed to report my earnings on my claim forms. Eventually the EDD found out, and now I am facing over payment penalties and suspension from benefits for 15 weeks. I acknowledge that I was wrong not to report my earnings. I made a judgement call based on my previous experience and the desire not to jeopardize the only job I did have. But in talking to the EDD and the judge who heard my appeal, I also have learned that what Company K did was completely wrong and perhaps even illegal by telling me to stop claiming benefits. I didn't know this at the time that they told me to do it. This has led me to my original question, which is, do I have a legal case against my employer if they told me to stop claiming unemployment benefits?

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall


THis saga is way too complicated to be reliably unraveled and analyzed here in this limited forum. If you think you may have a claim against a current or former employer, consult with a local employment attorney. Take all of your documents with you for the most productive discussion and advice.

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