Fighting “The Man”

When I officially lost my job back in October, I immediately filed a claim for unemployment benefits. Shouldn’t be too complicated, I thought. I didn’t quit my job of my own volition and I am (obviously) actively looking for a new position.

Surely you jest, Nurse Teeny.

Step One was convincing the state that my reasons for leaving did not disqualify me from receiving benefits. My former employers did initially assert that I quit voluntarily, which I immediately rebutted. On what planet is being terminated for health reasons a voluntary decision? The hospital did not respond to my rebuttal, so I won that round.

But then things got ugly…

One of the criteria for receiving unemployment benefits is that you be “able and available” to work in the profession for which you are trained every day of each week that you file a claim. “No problem,” I thought. I am cleared by my doctor to work full-time (except for night shift), and am seeking employment as an RN in a variety of settings. I have been able to work every week that I have filed a claim since I started filing 7 weeks ago.

But night shift has struck again, my friends.

Two weeks ago I received a B.S. letter from the unemployment office. Their logic went a little something like this:

  • According to some arbitrary labor market definition, a Registered Nurse must be available to work 24 hours a day.
  • I am unable to work night shift.
  • Therefore I am unable and unavailable to work.

Well I’ll be damned.

Nevermind the fact that there are two other shifts available to working nurses (days and evenings), or that hospital nursing is not the only type of nursing. Nevermind the fact that if I was able to work night shift, I wouldn’t have lost my job in the first place (or did that obvious fact escape them?). Nevermind the diligent records I’ve kept about my job search or the fact that I have expanded my hunt to two states in order to expedite finding employment.

So obviously I am appealing. I wrote a rather pointed letter, mincing no words. I may have actually accused the state of discrimination for medical reasons. 😉 For being a member of the most trusted and respected profession, I feel neither trusted nor respected.

If I lose my appeal, you bet your booty I’ll be going straight to the media.

All I needed was a little help to get me through a rough patch, so that I can get back to doing what I love.

Apparently that’s too much to ask.

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