I'm classified as a full time employee who for the last 3yrs worked approx 30-40hrs/wk. In the last 4 months or so, my hours have been gradually cut to zero hours for the last month. My company has hired a new associate doing my exact job, but being paid per job as an independent contractor vs a full time/paid per hr/direct employee like I am. I have been told that they will not fire me b/c they do not wish to pay unemployment. Do I have any options other than quitting and losing any unemployment payment opportunities? I live and work in Indiana.
Indiana, like almost every other state, is an “at-will” employment state. That means, unless you have a contract that says otherwise (and you probably don’t), your employer can change your job title, position, pay, hours, or any of the other terms and conditions of your employment at will, provided you are paid the appropriate salary, and provided that the employer is not making the change BECAUSE OF your race, age, sex, disability, religion, or national origin.
However, the real question with respect to unemployment is whether you are unemployed through no fault of your own. You didn't cut your hours to zero, your employer did. What reasonable person would continue to work for an employer who gave them no hours (and thus, no money). I would suggest you go to the DWD and apply for unemployment WITHOUT QUITTING. There is a possibility that you may be entitled to at least PARTIAL unemployment benefits without quitting.
I'm licensed to practice law only in Indiana, so if you're in another state, I can't give you "legal" advice. My answer is simply "friendly" advice based on my experience as an attorney in Indiana, my knowledge of federal and common law, and common sense. Even if you are in Indiana, employment law questions are very fact specific, and based on the limited information you provided in your post, I can't give you legal advice, and my answer is intended as general information only. It doesn't create an attorney-client relationship.
Mr. Henseinhelder is correct. From what you have provided it does not sound like you have been terminated for just cause. Therefore you should go to your local DWD or Workone and apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits. The Company then will have the option to challenge and request a denial of those benefits. I have seen a great increase in the past few years of employers challenging benefits under termination for cause. There is a process for appeal should you be denied. Legal advise should be sought at that point. - This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship and does not constitute legal advice.
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