They decided to fight my claim and not let me collect unemployment until I had a hearing. do I have a shot at a verbal abuse or slander case?
The basic rule is, if you quit, you don't collect. There are exceptions, such as if the employer made it so unbearable that you had to leave, but the DUA is toughening up these days. If all your boss did was tell you that you annoyed her and then you quit, you probably don't have the best chance. It most likely doesn't rise to the level of verbal abuse (any employment lawyer can tell you that verbal abuse goes way beyond a flippant statement), and slander doesn't cover opinions. If she says you annoy her, that's an opinion. If you need someone to represent you at the hearing, please use the Find a Lawyer feature here. However, most likely the DUA will just see this as a quit case.
Doubt it. Being told you are annoying is not slanderous (slander is the making of a false and damaging statement about you to a third party--an opinion is not slander and truth is an absolute defense) and its pretty benign insofar as abusiveness.
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This is going to be a tough case to win. When you quit your job, you severely decrease the likelihood that you will receive unemployment benefits. When you are fired, your employer has to show that they had good reason to fire you. When you quit, the burden shifts to you to prove that you had good cause to quit. Your employer calling you annoying is not slander, and if that is the only thing she did, I highly doubt even the most sympathetic hearing officer will find this to be an abusive work environment. You can read more about unemployment determinations here:
You may want to consider consulting with an employment attorney in your area to determine if there is any other angle you could use to get benefits.
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