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Worker fired after giving notice may collect unemployment

I gave my company an eight-week notice. I had planned to use that time to look for another job. But after I gave notice, my manager informed me that he would let me know at the end of the week if the company still needed my services. If he lets me go right away, can I collect unemployment? He said I wouldn't be able to collect because I had resigned.

He can huff all he wants. But if he dismisses you before your designated quit date, you may well be entitled to unemployment benefits to cover the weeks you expected to work.

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Your situation is common, except for the length of your notice; a two-week notice is customary in business. Employees usually give enough notice to wind down their affairs and to allow the company time to find a replacement. But some companies, for security reasons, will demand that resigning employees leave right away.

And they will often cushion that hard landing with severance to cover the notification period.

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When an employee gives notice, "she is voluntarily quitting and therefore would not normally be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits," said employment attorney Jeffrey Schlossberg with Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale, N.Y. But "if the employer chooses to let the employee go before the end of the notice period," Schlossberg said, "then the employer is considered to have terminated the employee for reasons other than misconduct, and the employee likely would be eligible for benefits."

You attempted to do the right thing by giving such an extraordinarily long notice, but you may have wound up spooking your employer. That's because employers fear that extended-stay short-timers in particular will copy files, sabotage computers, amass data to take to a competitor or have a negative impact on remaining colleagues.

For more information, contact your state's unemployment claims center.

Carrie Mason-Draffen is a columnist for Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. E-mail her at yourmoney@tribune.com.


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