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Harassment at the Workplace? 3 Tips to Come Out of It

Updated : August 4th, 2020

Harassment_at_the_Workplace

Most Americans decide to leave their jobs due to one or the other form of harassment meted out in the workplace. Toxic work environments affect people psychologically and their performance, making it an all-round bad experience for the employees. 

A study showed that nearly 60 percent of employees have quit or are on the verge of quitting their jobs because of the workplace harassment they face. There are many types of harassment that one may experience – racial, sexual, religious, ethnic, age-based, disability-based, bullying, or employers holding personal grudges against the applicants. 

This, however, gets complicated when one quits and applies for UI Benefits. The state unemployment benefits department has two major challenges.

The two biggest challenges that an applicant will face are:

  • The onus of proving that the harassment has taken place will be on the applicant
  • The applicant’s word will not be taken as final. If the employer contests the claim of the applicant, the applicant might end up losing the UI benefits if he/she does not have legitimate proofs

What Constitutes Harassment?

It is important for people to understand that you may not get along with your employer and this does not constitute harassment. Employers are not obligated to make you feel at home or make you get along with themselves or others. 

If you quit your job because you could not get along with your manager, your resignation will be considered as ‘voluntary’, and you will not qualify for UI benefits. 

For any case to be considered as harassment, the applicant must be treated unfairly based on factors that are beyond the employee’s performance or behavior. 

Some of the instances that are considered as harassment include:

  • Your work environment made hostile due to your gender, sexual orientation, race, religious affiliation, age, disability or due to personal enmity
  • Your work environment made hostile because you brought to light a criminal activity, health hazard, or discrimination faced by someone else either to your manager or to the police
  • You were ‘constructively discharged’ by your employer. Constructive discharge is when an employee is forced to quit due to the discrimination meted out against him/her     

How to Prove Your Claim?

There are some important steps you need to follow to make sure that you have sufficient evidence for your claims. 

Show that you tried to solve the issue: First and foremost, any state UI department will see if you have made any efforts in trying to solve the issue within the organization. You need to furnish proof that you have amply communicated with your manager about your issue. You need to show that you did not leave your job at the first sight of the problem, but instead, you tried to solve it but found no success.

File formal complaints: File formal complaints while you are still employed if you cannot solve the issue by yourself. Either file a complaint with a higher authority in your organization or you can also file a complaint with the ‘Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’. You can also file a complaint with your state or local government authorities like the police, or the Human Rights Division of your state. 

Documentation of your complaints: Make sure that all your communication about your issue is well documented. Communicating through emails is one of the smarter things to do while connecting with your manager. If you submitted a handwritten complaint, make sure to keep a photocopy of your submission. Keep the copies of complaints that you filed with the local government agencies or with the EEOC. 

This will form a major piece of evidence to showcase that you went through harassment and you tried to find a solution by informing the respective authorities. Such documented evidence will be the difference between your word and your employer’s word.

If you are left with no other option but to quit your job, you have arrived in the right place. Check out FileUnemployment.org to know more about filing for UI benefits in your state. 

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  1. I had trouble getting my proof of self-employment to upload in secure file exchange and finally got it submitted by 12:06 am , 6 minutes late. What are the possibilities that they will deny it? I have received unemployment from March 2020 to some of Jan and some in Feb 2021. Most of Dec, Jan, Feb, March, & april were stopped for this proof of employment.
    Also, I see proof of Income as a 2nd issue but it is always on there. That was not on my TO DO list.
    I feel for u all on ID.ME…

    Anyone trying to reach UI, call their number, press 2 or 3 (questions abt filing a claim?) and then wait thru the message. At the end of it, u will be connected to a live person! I promise.. don’t push another button.. I’ve done it 4 times and it never failed.

    We lost our home, my ex took my child…. (kept her after a visit and called cps facilitating drama while the cops wouldn’t give her back without paperwork locked up in the court house..shut down for covid) I raised her by myself for 12 years & now she is with a violent alcoholic and parental alienating parent .. ….my dog, my 9-year sweet little best friend, was attacked, passing away 3 days later.. all in this time frame.
    But! It will all be ok. I have faith.

    Be grateful for your life and all that is in it today. What u dwell on daily will be your strength or weakness.
    Good luck to all of u.
    And thank you, Jeff, for responding out here. It is appreciated!
    Davulia S.

  2. I filed over two months ago. I have not received any information. My status says “pending resolution”. I have no way of contacting anyone. My position was eliminated at my job and I submitted the documentations online. I dont know what else I can do.

  3. I have been apply Ohio Pua unemployment since July 5th still pending issues. Upload what they ask for when ever I call says your case is in Adjudication. Very very frustrated, financially I am broke. Health issues. Waiting a long period.Don’t know what I will do ?

    1. Nafisa,

      I can understand your situation. There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

    2. Same here since Feb 2021 turned in all the documents still pending issues 3 months now. When you call they tell you to be patient. Pulling my hair out it’s so frustrating.

  4. I was receiving PUA unemployment. they made me file for a new claim in February. Now I am in adjudication even though I gave all the same information from my previous claim. Have been adjudication since February and I call and they say they will put in a ticket to have an Adjudicator call me. Nothing. I am wondering If I can go down to to Maryland Unemployment Office and demand that someone talk with me to release my claim for payment. It’s been 56 days. I read that they have a maximum of 45 days.

    1. Luis,

      Your adjudicator may be inundated with pending cases. Please continue to follow up (if you have the contact details) or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

    2. t sounds just like mine only im disqualified yet actie every till sept 4th . they haven’t asked me for anything! i file then its disqualified yet im told im ok and have nothing to do bit wait for an answer? answer to what? they switched my program and all and asked me to provide proof for a claim that wa denied al eady back in 2018! deny me once and then again perhaps? lol idk

  5. My mom had unemployment in Florida. She just recently moved temporally to California with a sister since she needs assistance, and now the website is telling her she cannot do anything because she is register in another state. Can she keep filing unemployment in Florida, even if she is living and register now in another state? how is the process to change the unemployment? I tried calling and there is no answer. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie,

      Please ask your mother to consider transferring the UI benefits from FL to CA (details will be available on either of the websites). If there are benefits weeks left in the account, she will be able to claim them.

    1. Leatha,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who lose employment involuntarily and be able to and available for work.

  6. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  7. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  8. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

      1. HI Jeff,
        I applied back in Dec 5th, 2020 and I haven’t received any correspondence, is there a local office that I can make an appt to make certain my claim is right.

        1. Adam,

          You can consider visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (details will be available on the Unemployment Office’s website).

  9. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  10. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

        1. Gary,

          You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  11. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  12. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  13. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  14. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

    1. Maria,
      I have gotten through to the call center (live agent) every time i’ve tried calling within the last 2 weeks. The number to a live agent (follow the prompts carefully) is (667)-207-6520. i have gotten through within 10 to 15 mins with each call i had made!

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