Unemployed work fire

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Unemployed work fire

Recently a month ago my job caught
on fire. We still got paid for not working.
Our employer said it was the insurance
paying us each week. Now a month
later our employer is refusing to pay us
if we have not worked at the other
location. Even if we haven’t been
asked to work out there. Sometimes
they have to many people working so
you can’t work even if you wanted too.
He also said we can’t get
unemployment without his approval. Is
the accurate or even legal?

Asked on July 26, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, your employer doesn't need to approve your unemployment. That having been said, under the circumstances since you did not voluntarily leave your job, you should be eligble to collect unemployment compensation. As for not being given any work by your company, the fact is that it is under no duty to do so. In an "at will" work relationship, an employer can set the conditons of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). Therefore, unless your treatment violates the terms of an employment contract or collective bargaining agreemnt, you have no claim. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) The employer does not need to pay you if you are not working, even if the reason is not your fault (e.g. a fire) and also does not have to transfer you to or have you work at another location. Therefore, it is legal for the employer to not give you work (since after all, your employer could simply terminate you at any time, for any reason, in any event, unless you had a still-in-effect written employment contract guarantying you employment) and not pay you while you are not working.
2) Your employer does not need to approve you unemployment, and if you can't work because of a fire or because not hours are scheduled for you, should be eligible for unemployment.


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