My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: California

Hello All,

Back in November I applied for Unemployment after I quit my job. I explained the situation to the EDD rep and week later I received my approval form, a few days after that I received a notice advising me that I am ineligible to received unemployment benefits do to a disqualifying act of: Voluntarily quitting due to new conditions of work imposed by the employer without seeking all reasonable resolutions first. It also went on to state that I could have the disqualifying act removed if I returned to work and earned 3.5x my week benefit amount, and I could then be eligible for UI benefits...which makes no sense to me at all.

This is what happened (If you don't want to read the whole thing, skip to the bottom bolded points of interests):

From April-September 2012, I was a supervisor of this department where there was manager above me who was complete out of control, unprofessional, and down completely not competent in leading the team. I'm not saying all of this to make her look bad, it is the absolute fact. The things that went on in my department by our manager, no one else knew about, because if they did, it would be a high profile legal issue. However, my team were scared for their jobs, and wanted better leadership. I agree with them as well, and we all sent COUNTLESS emails, of which I have copies of, borderline begging HR for a resolution to having a manager whose behavior was manic and dangerous. All of those emails, sent from 6+ people, were never answered. No changes or resolutions were implemented. Towards the end of September we all were stressed out to the max, full of anxiety, and walked around on egg shells around HR as well as our manager because we felt that there was no one we could trust or that would help. Me being the supervisor of my team, I carried the brunt of the stress and anxiety because I felt like there was nothing I could do to help/save these people.

Well, you're probably wondering why this manager was never fired right? She "allegedly" (but confirmed vocally to everyone on the team on SEVERAL occasions), was sleep with the COO, who, coincidentally hired a new HR manager back in January who happened to be 25+ year friend of his. Long story short, some illegal money laundering and things of that nature were brought to the attention of the CEO, who lived on the east coast and apparently trusted his COO too much, and the CEO fired a bunch of VPs and Executives and then eliminated our positions and our department. We had the option of quitting or being reassigned. Because I wanted to keep my job and NOT be unemployed I interviewed with all the managers of other departments that had openings to decide which department would be the best fit. None of them were a good fit because their job duties were completely different from what we did and required a different skill set that I did not fully understand. One manager in particular made a bunch of promises to us about how the transition would be easy and there would be a lot of training would be available. So we all decided to switch go to that department. I took a week off to de-stress and prepare myself for my new role in the company.

When I came back, Oct 7 the job was horrendous! There was insufficient training, and financial concepts that I did not understand at all. We had 6 managers running around the floor yelling at us to get on the phone and/or to wrap up a call so we can take another one. The people I talked to on the phone would yell at me, the managers would yell at me, the new coworker I sat beside would, on a weekly basis, drop her phone and run out of the office crying. I couldn't take it. What we experienced before this, in my department, was no where near the amount of stress, anxiety, pressure, and fear that we now experienced. The managers all said, "oh we'll give you more training," or "you'll just have to get use to it this is how it is," or "You guys had it easy down there now you get to feel what it's like to actually do work!" "You get a hell of a lot more than other reps on your team, so you are expected to do more work than they are" (That last one came straight from the VP of HR, the one who doesn't return emails/pleas for help).

At this point, the stress, anxiety, and depression got so bad that it started affecting my attendance. I would be so exhausted from running on adrenaline and fear all day that I would go to bed and oversleep. My attendance record at the company was always spotless, hence the reason I earned a promotion within my first 6 months, along with my willingness to go above and beyond for the company. At this time, I had weeks of vacation time saved up because I never took a day off, nor did I ever miss a day or was more than 5 minutes late, ever! Now I started being 2 hours late, 3 hours late. I started getting sick, yet I still came in because they would threaten us with impending termination if we ever called out. I needed to do something because I did not want to lose my job, so I approach the managers, and asked them to give me a part time schedule, and that I would cover whatever hours they wanted me to cover, just as long as it wasn't more that 32 hours a week..I needed a break..I couldn't sit there all day ever day constantly being yelled at and threatened by both management and the customers on the phone. They reluctantly agreed to give me part time hours, more out of an feign attempt to appear like they cared, but not before threatening me that a full time position may not be available in the future and part time employees are usually "the first to go."

I began my part time hours Nov 1st, on Nov 11th, after still not receiving the additional training I needed and requested, and not understanding the other secondary training information they provided (A large book of terms and financial information that was foreign to me) and because the night before I became borderline suicidal, I decided to quit. I filed for unemployment a few days later.

My points of interests that I would like to make are:
  • My conditions of employment had not changed, my department and position were terminated.
  • All reasonable resolutions to this "change in conditions" were explored in depth via interviews with all other departments and additional training requested.
  • My department had assisted this department with their phone calls when they would become busy, on a once a month (for 2-3 days) basis, but we were limited in what we assisted the customers with, since we were never fully trained in their specialty, so it was all basic level information and assistance that we provided. Anything we did not understand, we would transfer back up to their department.
  • It is not my problem, nor my fault, that I, previously being a supervisor, was being paid more an hour when I transitioned into a Level 1 Representative, than the ones who started out and are still currently Level 1 Representatives. I do not believe it is fair to expect me to do more work than everyone else, especially when I'm in a new environment, doing a job I am not use to doing, with insufficient training, just because I get paid more.
  • Also, a coworker of mine, who went on maternity leave a few weeks before our department was shut down, came back, she informed me that the VP of HR advised her that there were positions available in other departments, but she declined them, but she is in fact receiving unemployment.

I have appealed their decision and we have a hearing scheduled in a couple of weeks. Given your expertise, how are my chances looking at this point? I plan to give a little back story as well as emphasize on those points of interest. I don't know if this hearing can have witnesses, as I haven't received all the info from them regarding the hearing, but I have 3 that I can bring with me who will attest to these facts. What are your thoughts?