My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: California
I truly hope someone can assist -
When the crash hit in 2008 I was laid off after 4 years of faithful service as a paralegal in a well-respected family law firm that hit serious hard times. Since I was the employee with the least seniority the decision was made to let me go.
I was then hired by a privately-owned financial services firm. Initially, the owner of the business lowballed me with an offer that was $15K below what I was making as a paralegal. After some negotiating, we settled at $8,000 below my previous salary. The owner stated in the interview that he "had no problem" paying my requested salary after I proved myself as a good fit for the company, and further stated "I can afford that salary and have no problem with it, I just need to know you can handle the position first, then I have no problem paying you that rate."
I excelled and put my all into the position, and made several substantial structural improvements to the business in general, over and above fulfilling my position's duties. My work basically transformed the business from a ramshackle operation featuring huge stacks of loose paper all over the floor into a well-oiled, fully digitized, fully organized machine. Most of the work I took on completely on my own with little input from the owner, except for enthusiastic praise and cheer and requests to keep it coming.
My hiring paperwork mentioned a 180 day review, but the review never happened. Finally, once two weeks past my 1-year anniversary passed, I wrote a letter requesting the increase I was promised on hiring. My letter detailed out all of the improvements to the business I had brought since my hire.
The owner wrote me back and flatly denied not only my request for the previously agreed upon salary, but ANY increase in my rate despite acknowledging my great track record.
Shortly after that time, I learned my wife was pregnant. Since we took an $8K hit in salary decrease for me to take the job, we were already struggling to make ends meet, but now with a baby coming, I am really concerned.
Worried that my employer would never give any kind of increase, since that didn't look like it was in his plans after all, I began applying for jobs each night at home. I also began applying for jobs during the day at work. I would simply forward a saved copy of my resume and compose a brief cover letter by email. While I admit that this is not proper, I still managed my duties with flying colors and continued running the office with great efficiency. However, I was totally unprepared for the owner’s response.
Upon arriving one morning about two weeks ago, the owner called me into his office and told me that he has reason to beleive that I am looking for another job. He asked me how much notice I would be willing to give the company if I found another position.
I admitted that I had been looking for a new job and explained to him the dilemma with my wife being pregnant and again made my case that I can't survive on what he is paying me unless he can make good on his promise to pay me the salary he had agreed to during the interview. I stated that if I found employment I would definitely give at least the standard 2 weeks notice if I received an offer from another company.
The owner stated that he knows I have been sending resumes from the office computer and his trust in me is "completely broken". He stated that he has already hired someone to take over my job and that furthermore they would be starting that morning.
I stated that I didn't agree with this and asked why he didn't just speak with me first or provide some other disciplinary measure rather than an immediate firing and re-hiring.
The owner stated that he would never trust me again, because he thought I was going to be a long-term employee, and furthermore he stated that two weeks notice is not enough for him to train a new person. He asked that I give a months' notice at least if I was hired elsewhere. He stated that he will allow my position to become temporary, to terminate in 60 days, as long as I fully train the new person he hired on my duties. Otherwise, I would be fired immediately that minute.
I asked if he could lay me off to give me time to look for another job, and I explained that if I can't get unemployment, it would be catastrophic for my family since we could not make rent. He stated that he will not agree to unemployment for me.
With no other choice, I simply had to swallow this terrible situation, and I had to sign my a skewed letter memorializing the situation (I signed it "as received only") and I have been training my replacement for the past 3 days.
If I file for unemployment, and the owner denies my request, and says I was using company computers to job search, do I still have a chance at getting unemployment?
I am up against the wall, I know I shouldn't have applied for jobs from work, but we are desperate as it is, and now it looks like my job will be terminated at any time, as soon as the owner determines that my replacement is trained enough. It sickens me to have to train my replacement.
One more word, I know the owner is really getting rid of me because I asked for more money than he wants to pay, and I know he is paying my replacement (someone much younger and less experienced than me) much less, because the last thing the owner said to me before my replacement arrived for her first day was "please do not discuss the salary I paid you with her". Also please know that I know the owner is making a huge amount of money from the business and my salary is only a drop in the bucket to that.
Any help would be so much appreciated by myself, and my wife and child. Thank you!