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Can I File for Unemployment If I’m Demoted?

unemploymentMost people consider unemployment a financial tool available to help them if they lose their job. But what happens if your income drastically changes because of demotion? You might still have a job, but if you aren’t able to make ends meet because your income drops, is unemployment compensation available?

In most cases, the answer is “no.” There are exceptions though. For example, it matters whether or not you are still a full-time employee. If you remain a full-time employer, but a reduction in position or obligations in the workplace means you’ll be making less, you likely won’t qualify for unemployment payments.

What If I’m Not Working as Much?

In most cases, a reduction in the number of hours you work means a reduction in income. If this is your situation, unemployment might be an option for helping you make ends meet.

However, if your employer cuts your hours because of something you did wrong, your eligibility might be different. Some states offer unemployment compensation even if you were demoted or forced to change positions due to wrongdoing on your part, but this is not always the case.

Additionally, there are requirements regarding the number of hours worked. New York implemented new guidelines in January 2021 regarding the impact of part-time work on unemployment benefits. You can read more about it here.

Do I Get Unemployment If I Quit My Job?

This is also a scenario that includes variations based on your specific situation. It’s a common misconception that you aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit voluntarily. However, this isn’t always the case.

If you’re a victim of mistreatment in the workplace or there are any violations of wage and labor laws occurring that cause you to quit, you should apply for unemployment. Getting payments might not be as easy as it is in termination. However, you stand a decent chance of qualifying if you have a legitimate claim. An unemployment caseworker will investigate your claims and if they are deemed unfair or discriminatory, you will receive benefits.

Keep in mind, reporting the issues to the state department of labor and trying to resolve the issues before quitting makes your case stronger in the long run. Think of quitting as your last resort, but don’t remain in a situation that puts your health at risk.

What If I’m Terminated?

In many cases, the demotion of an employee is an indication that termination isn’t far behind. Some employers demote an employee in hopes that it will force their hand and they’ll leave voluntarily.

Don’t assume you do not qualify for unemployment benefits after termination. There will likely be an investigation and your employment record will be reviewed. If a caseworker determines you were treated unfairly, you’ll qualify for unemployment. A denial of benefits requires gross misconduct on your part. Gross misconduct usually involves things like failing a drug test, stealing from your employer, or failing to show up for work.

If you’re concerned about making ends meet after a demotion or termination, it’s a good idea to begin looking for a new job. Ideally, you’ll find a new job in a short period after termination or demotion. But in the meantime, unemployment benefits are an option for many people.

If you have questions about qualifying for unemployment benefits or you’d like to speak to someone about your workplace situation, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation.


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