Much depends on the circumstances of your departure from your job. The laws vary from state to state, and in my state, a person can be terminated without any reason if they are not under a union contract that says otherwise. However, a person may still be eligible for Unemployment Benefits if he or she did not perform an illegal action or violate company policy. If someone is let go on a pretext because the employer simply does not like their personality, that employee can go to a hearing conducted by the Department of Unemployment Administration in their country, and dispute the termination. Then, that person may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits from the state if the judgment is in their favor.
One excuse used to terminate a worker is “insubordination.” which is the refusal to follow a direct order. If you feel that you are being asked to do something unethical, dangerous, or potentially illegal, ask to have the command to perform this task in writing and signed. This may cause your supervisor to reconsider. However, if he or she persists in their demand of you, and refuses to write a note, this should give you cause for concern. Then you might want to bring this up with the person above your supervisor.
Employees who are members of a union have a right to have a representative of the union present if they are brought into a investagory meeting and terminated. These are called Weingarten Rights, and, they are part of the law. Having a mediator to represent the individual to be terminated may result in a better outcome, such as not being terminated or a transfer to another job within the company.
If you are laid off due to a company closing , for example, you may have a representative from the Department of Unemployment Administration come to your company and explain to you and your colleagues how to apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits. You can usually do this over the telephone or on-line. There is a lag week, where you do not have any income, and then you get about 60% of your gross income — which if you have a lot of deductions normally taken out can be almost as much as your take-home pay was.
Your Unemployment Insurance benefits will only last for a limited amount of time, so when you start to get them you might consider what your plan of action is going to be. Do you feel that with your skills and experience you can get another job in the same field? If so, the Department of Unemployment Administration has a long list of two hundred to three hundred jobs available right now in your county. All that you have to do is go in and get the list. If you find a job on the list that interests you it will have a job number beside it. You have the option to call a worker at the Department of Unemployment and ask for the name and telephone number of that company, or look it up on-line at the Department of Unemployment web site.
Another good source of jobs is Craigslist on the internet. Craigslist is divided into localities so you would need to Google search for your area, and then select an industry. Indeed.com is another good resource. The Department of Unemployment in Massachusetts has a program called Apex which enables workers to post their education and skills on-line for employers to find. The One Stop Career centers that are set up in counties all over Massachusetts, and in some form America also offer a series of workshops. You can sign up for job search workshops about resume writing, interviewing skills, and networking. You can also brush up your computing skills by learning about e-mail, data entry, and the internet. There is also a job data base. These One Stop Career Centers usually have half a dozen computers that people may use.
Another option is to explore getting some work experience as a Volunteer in Service to America. While this is a volunteer program, it offers a small paid stipend of usually roughly $12,000 a year with an additional bonus at the end of a year. If you need more experience in the field that you are educated in, this might be helpful to you. The work is usually in low-income neighborhoods with low-income families within a non-profit agency or school.
If you do not feel that you want to go back to whatever you were doing, now would be a perfect time to consider getting more training while you are collecting Unemployment Insurance. The Department of Employment offers money for job training for any adult over the age of eighteen who is legally allowed to work in America. There are short-term training programs that last just for a few weeks – such as the training to be a nurse’s aid – and trainings that last a few months.
Community Colleges offer certificate programs that last for one year, or Associate programs that are two year programs. Colleges also offer evening and summer non-credit courses to further your career. if you want to get a one, two or four year degree you may be eligible for financial aid through the Department of Education to cover all of it.
If you have a really goods idea, the skills and the experience to start a small business, there are grants from the federal government that are especially for women, minorities, native Americans, and veterans. These are often distributed through local agencies, so it might take some calling around different agencies to find out more about these grants but a starting point would be the Small Business Administration web site. Does it sound too good to be true that the government is handing out money for people to start their own businesses, and giving them all the help they can get, such as trainings in starting a business and other support? Well, it is true, and it makes sound economic sense for the overall good of the country.
You may be required to do some research on-line, and talk to a career counselor at the DUA or at a college campus, but there are doors waiting to be opened for you out there. If you have the misfortune to speak to someone who is ill-informed, and who discourages you, do not stop your efforts to improve your life. You are standing at a crossroads with many roads in front of you, and it is up to you to decided which path you are going to try to walk down. Here are some useful links. Good luck.
Massachusetts DUA resources and application for Unemployment Insurance benefits:
Department of Labor general resource links:
Small Business Administration web-site
US Department of Labor resources:
Photo: Graduation of a Woman Dressed in a Black Gown by David Castillo Dominici