If you work for a temporary employment agency, the agency, the “temp agency”, is your employer.  When they have work available, you’ll be given an assignment--maybe seasonal work, maybe subbing for someone on vacation—and at some point your assignment will end.  You’ve got to let the temp agency know within three days of when the assignment ends so they will know you’re available and will know to look for another opening for you.  In fact, if you don’t let them know, you’ll probably lose your job.  It’s considered a “voluntary quit”, and under Iowa law, when you voluntarily quit your job, you’re ineligible for unemployment benefits.

But here’s the thing: if you’ve lost your job because you didn’t notify your temp agency within three days, it might still be worth it to apply for unemployment benefits.  It’s up to Iowa Workforce Development to determine whether or not you’re eligible, and if they find you ineligible you can appeal.  At the appeal hearing, it’s up to your employer to show that you voluntarily quit.  In order to do this, it has to not only show that you failed to provide notice of availability within three days of an assignment ending, it also has to show that it complied with certain requirements: that it gave you written notice of the three-day rule, that you read and signed a document that contained “a clear and concise explanation of the notification requirement and the consequences of a failure to notify”, that that document was separate from general employment contracts, and that you were provided with a signed copy of the document.

            So if there’s no evidence that you signed a document, or no evidence that you were provided a copy of the signed document, or the document you signed was integrated into your employment contract rather than separate, or the document wasn’t clear and concise, you ought to be eligible for unemployment benefits.  It isn’t enough to get a clear and concise brochure after you signed a complying document.  If the document you signed is a single-spaced sheet of paper that basically quotes the law verbatim, it’s not clear or concise enough. And if the document neglects to mention the three day deadline, it’s not good enough either.

            And even if your employer complies with all of these requirements, it’s still up to them to show they complied.  If your employer doesn’t show up to the hearing, it won’t be able to give evidence, and that’s a hundred points in your favor. 

            The point is that if you were fired from a temp agency for failing to give notice of availability within three days, you’ve still got a lifeline for unemployment benefits.  But you’ve got to take that first step and apply.  I like to say to my clients, "Help me to help you."  If we can help you, call the Lombardi Law Firm to speak with attorneys Steve Lombardi and Katrina Schaefer. We can be reached at 515-222-1110 or by emailing us at [email protected] and [email protected] We look forward to your call.

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