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Anna84

Agreed to relocate, now I'm refusing: will I get unemployment?

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I was on unemployment, but got a job: 2 months ago I signed a job offer letter agreeing that the job was contingent on permanently relocating to a new state within 1 month. Offline, my boss told me don't worry about the letter, just sign it, you can work remotely from your home city and that he authorized it: so that's what I've been doing. They've been employing me and paying me while I work remotely, even after the 1 month deadline. Now my boss said that's not what he meant, I can't work remotely, I'm required to permanently relocate to the new state immediately. The employee handbook says if you don't show up at your assigned work location (that other state) for 3 days in a row, the company considers you as having voluntarily resigned. They also say I agreed to relocate (since I signed that offer letter) and my boss denies giving me permission to work remotely (even though the company has, in practice, been employing me as a remote worker). 

 

Will I be disqualified from unemployment since I signed a job offer letter agreeing my employment was contingent relocating? I know you DO get unemployment if you leave/lose a job because it changes location. I don't know if I screwed myself over by originally (supposedly) agreeing to relocate originally? They're going to say I voluntarily quit, but I say it's constructive discharge. 

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I couldn't say one way or the other.

 

I did find the following form that the employer has to fill out after you've applied for benefits.

 

http://www.ides.illinois.gov/IDES Forms and Publications/ADJ016FE.pdf

 

I'm guessing he can write just what's needed to get you denied and then you'd have to file an appeal.

 

All you can do is apply for unemployment ASAP, explain it the way you've explained it here, and see how it goes. The waiting period doesn't start until you file.

 

The unemployment statute is rather long so I am reproducing Section 603 Refusal of Work in its entirety:

 

Quote

(820 ILCS 405/603) (from Ch. 48, par. 433)
    Sec. 603. Refusal of work. An individual shall be ineligible for benefits if he has failed, without good cause, either to apply for available, suitable work when so directed by the employment office or the Director, or to accept suitable work when offered him by the employment office or an employing unit, or to return to his customary self-employment (if any) when so directed by the employment office or the Director. Such ineligibility shall continue for the week in which such failure occurred and, thereafter, until he has become reemployed and has had earnings equal to or in excess of his current weekly benefit amount in each of four calendar weeks which are either for services in employment, or have been or will be reported pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act by each employing unit for which such services are performed and which submits a statement certifying to that fact.
    In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, consideration shall be given to the degree of risk involved to his health, safety, and morals, his physical fitness and prior training, his experience and prior earnings, his length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in his customary occupation, and the distance of the available work from his residence.
    Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act, no work shall be deemed suitable and benefits shall not be denied under this Act to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept new work under any of the following conditions:
    If the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute; if the wages, hours, or other conditions of the work offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the locality; if, as a condition of being employed, the individual would be required to join a company union or to resign from or refrain from joining any bona fide labor organization; if the position offered is a transfer to other work offered to the individual by the employing unit under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or pursuant to an established employer plan, program, or policy, when the acceptance of such other work by the individual would require the separation from that work of another individual currently performing it.

 

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2434

 

And here are several appellate case decisions that address Refusal of Work. Read them and see if any of them give you some ideas.

 

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=4%2C14&q="refusal+of+work"&btnG

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Is the company you were to work for primarily located in the other state?  In other words, did you agree to work for a company primarily located in Kansas, for example?  If so, you would have to file your claim in the other state and it would be governed by the laws of the other state.

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Thank you for all the thorough and helpful replies! The company is in Indianapolis, so I'll start looking up Indiana's rules too then. I know it has a reciprocal tax relationship between Illinois and Indiana so maybe that affects things too. 

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