Is Verbal Abuse Enough To Get Unemployment?

Question:

I feel very uncomfortable with my boss, who also is president of the company. He loves to curse and yell when a troubling issue arrives. He yells and curses on the phone and makes me feel like the biggest idiot in the world. I am to the point where I don’t want to come to work. I don’t want to work here any more, but I need the money. My question is: Is verbal abuse enough to collect unemployment if I were to leave?

Signed,

Want to Leave


Answer:

Dear Want to Leave:

No, you can’t get unemployment compensation because you have an abusive boss. Possibly, if he lays you off you can, depending on the size of your company and your state. Apparently, cursing and yelling is the way your boss gets his way, and the chances are that he will not change. So you will need to accelerate your job hunt and grin and bear it until something turns up. What is your alternative to biting your tongue?

It is to assert you, saying something like, “I work better when you speak to me with respect and do not yell.” You may need to rehearse such a sentence so that you can speak it firmly rather than mouse-like. You may need to say it more than once. You may be surprised to learn that your boss apologizes and tries to manage his anger the next time.

Does this make sense to you? Let us know what you do and if it works or fails. Meanwhile, is it possible for you to be a model of the kind of person who is professional, efficient, and pleasant, so much so that your cursing boss regrets it when you tell him you are leaving?

Think of the kind of workplace in which you’d like to work–one with a WEGO spirit.

William Gorden