JC Penny Layoffs may Create Interesting Unemployment Claims

News about the JC Penny layoffs is very alarming for all retail workers. Whether you work there or not, I believe their estimated 140 store closers may create problems for future Minnesota unemployment claims too.

JC Penny Layoffs:  Should I Stay or Should I Go?

JC Penny Layoffs
JC Penny Layoffs

A lot of workers immediately jump ship as soon as the find out that their store is closing.  Usually, this entails:

  • Finding a new job, and
  • Quitting a current job.

Minnesota unemployment laws can be very unforgiving to workers who quit before their store closes or told they are not longer allowed to work (or layoff).

Without question, situations will arise when workers are confused whether they are being laid off or being told to anticipate a layoff.  Unfortunately, they are not the same.

For these reasons and from an eligibility for unemployment benefit perspective, staying put until they slam the door behind a worker can be a strong position.

JC Penny Layoffs:  Early Retirement

Another issue that pops up with a mass layoff like that announced by JC Penny is the retirement process.  Employees confuse the “R” word with:

  • Social Security eligibility,
  • Severance Payments,
  • Pensions, and
  • Ancillary wages.

All of these financial elements are poorly defined by Minnesota unemployment statute 268.035.  In my experience, knowing how to classify these payments can negatively impact or delay unemployment benefits in Minnesota.

JC Penny Layoffs: Vocational Changes

A third type of issue that comes up with a mass layoff is whether now is the time to make a career change.

Without knowing the exact situation that is requiring 140 store closures, maybe a handful of workers get approached with retraining or TAA benefit programs.

Other times, laid off workers might engage schooling or a different labor pool or job classification.  I wish it wasn’t the case, but the unemployment office uses these choices to incorrectly define suitable employment standards.

JC Penny layoffs should not be taken lightly.  Ultimately, I cannot make this decision for folks.  On the other hand, offering direct advisement on ways to reduce an appeal, audit or an overpayment can have a positive long-term impact.

JC Penny Layoffs: New Job Offers

The last issue I want to quickly address is the game of being offered a new job at half the wage.

I really strive towards protecting employees and workers.  JC Penny is loosing money and saving or reducing their unemployment tax is a likely goal.  For this reason, workers might get stuck trying to make a decision about a continued employment and new job offers.  This process by itself is troublesome enough.  Adding the risk of having no job makes it even more stressful.

Therefore, take the layoffs at JC Penny seriously and protect yourself from harm.