My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: Indiana
This occurred in Indiana.
In August of 2010, I took out student loans to complete a masterís degree. In February of 2011, I began working at a fine-dining restaurant as a server. The practices of this restaurant were very unethical including mandatory 1-4 hour meetings we were not paid for, including a mandatory 4 hour cleaning day consisting of painting trim, refinishing doors in the restaurant, mopping, cleaning with abrasive chemicals, etc (not paid for any of this) and even being shoved (she poked me in the back with three fingers with such force that I was pushed forward) by a manager in my 2nd week of work.
However, I put up with the treatment to maintain a job as I have a lease I have to pay. I was never late to this job, never missed a shift, never received any sort of warning. I was fired because a customer complained that it took too long to get her check, which was actually the serverís fault yet the blame was put on me since they had been there 5 years (I was basically a server assistant and we split tips equally).
As servers, we were told to claim 70% of our credit card tips, so cash tips were generally never claimed. Thus, my wages earned are probably 50% of actual wages earned.
After being fired with no warning and in my opinion without just cause, I filed for unemployment. They decided to look at wages earned between 7/2010 and 7/2011. (Keep in mind my employment was from 2/2011 to 11/2011) From 7/2010 to 1/2011 I was in school and did not have the ability to hold down a job (I took out 22k in student loans). I was just denied benefits because my highest quarterly wages (3100$) (this last quarter since thatís the only quarter I was actually employed) times 1.5 are 500$ short of the necessary total quarterly wages (mine were 4500$, the minimum was approximately $5100).
First off, like I said, not all wages are declared as a server. Furthermore, I was a student for the majority of the time they decided to look at my wages earned. Being as I was fully employed for the last eight months and fired without any prior issues, I am baffled by being denied unemployment.
I called and spoke to a representative, who basically just kept repeating that my yearly wages must be 1.5x the highest quarterly.
As of this year, my paycheck says Iíve earned $9000 (this is about 50-60% of actual wages earned since this consists of the declared tips). I am not sure what I can do at this point or what my options are, but it seems ridiculous that they chose a time frame over a year ago in which I was in school to decide if Iím eligible for unemployment.
Thanks in advance for ANY advice.