Legal Guide

Reducing Monthly Bills After Being Wrongfully Terminated

Unemployment benefits can sometimes help families tide themselves over during a temporary period of job loss. However, these benefits are only a fraction of what a worker usually earns, so they may need to get creative and determine how to reduce their monthly bills while they are not working. Some workers may even have viable employee rights claim they can assert to seek additional compensation from their employer. The wrongful termination lawyers at Hall & Lampros, LLP can explain more during a confidential consultation you can arrange by calling (404) 876-8100.

Unemployment Benefits in Georgia

Unemployment insurance is temporary income for employees who are unemployed due to no fault of their own.

The Georgia Department of Labor states that a person must meet the following qualification requirements to receive unemployment benefits:

  • They must have earned enough money in the base period to establish a claim
  • They must be unemployed through no fault of their own
  • They must be able and available to work
  • They must be actively looking for another job, have a definite recall date to return to their current job within six weeks of the last day worked, or be in approved training
  • They must not refuse suitable work if offered

Eligible workers can receive up to 26 weeks of benefits, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. As of 2021, the minimum amount of weekly unemployment benefits is $55. The maximum is $365. The amount of benefits a worker is eligible to receive depends on the worker’s previous earnings during the base period.

How to Reduce Monthly Bills

If you have recently been wrongfully terminated and are trying to get by on unemployment benefits, you may be in survival mode and just trying to hang on financially until you can obtain a new job. You might consider various ways to reduce your monthly expenses after consulting with your financial advisor, such as:

  • Canceling unneeded services, such as housecleaning, meal delivery, gym memberships, box store memberships, and subscription services
  • Deferring payments where possible, such as by seeking a forbearance on your home mortgage, car loan, or student loan
  • Refinancing your mortgage, car loan, or student loan
  • Reducing debt payments to match only the minimum payment
  • Eliminating spending on eating out to eat, entertainment, and clothing
  • Changing services to more affordable options, such as cable, internet, gas, electricity, and cell phone
  • Switching to a more affordable insurance company
  • Getting rid of a second vehicle
  • Setting the temperature at a less comfortable one or using balanced billing options
  • Consolidating debt to a lower interest option
  • Getting a roommate or renting out a bedroom

Employee Rights (link to H&L practice pages)

Employees in Georgia have various rights. In some situations, employers may violate these rights, which may present the employee with the opportunity to make a wrongful termination claim against the employer. Some common employee rights violation claims Hall & Lampros, LLP handles involve:

●       Failure to pay overtime

●       Failure to pay minimum wage

●       Failure to pay for hours worked

●       Failure to pay for lunch or break periods where employees were required to work

●       Failure to pay for attendance at mandatory meetings or travel between jobs

●       Failure to pay for work completed “off the clock”

●       Requiring employees to clock in or out in a way that minimizes their time and does not fairly compensate them for the actual hours worked

●       Changing time entries to avoid paying for all hours worked or overtime

●       Illegal tip pools and employers taking tip claims

●       Misclassification of employees as independent contractors

●       Misclassification of non-exempt employees as exempt employees to circumvent minimum wage or other rules

If your employer violates wage and hour rules, federal law may allow you to recover two times the actual damages you suffered, as well as payment for attorneys’ fees and costs.

Wrongful Termination

While Georgia is an at-will state that allows an employee to be fired for any legal reason, employees may have a valid wrongful termination claim against their employer if they are fired for an illegal reason. For example, when this may occur, is when the firing is due to:

  • The employee’s race, ethnicity, sex, disability, or other protected status
  • Retaliation for exercising a lawful right
  • The employee acting within a recognized public policy of the state
  • Breach of contract

To protect their employee rights, an employee must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of their wrongful termination.

Contact a Lawyer for Help with Your Wrongful Termination Claim

If you have recently been wrongfully terminated from your job and need help navigating what to do next or other employee rights claims, Hall & Lampros, LLP is here to help. We can explain more about these legal issues and explain your rights during a confidential consultation. You can get in touch with us by calling (404) 876-8100.

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