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I’ve worked at a company that’s been going downhill for the last few years. It was a toxic work environment, and there was a lack of work even before this ongoing economic crisis happened. I was laid off a few weeks ago, and ended up receiving much more through unemployment due to the recent CARES act than I ever did working full-time. **A few weeks ago, I recieved a call from an HR assistant sounding like they were reading a script:**

“Hi is this (name)? I’m calling from (company name) to let you know you’re rehired.

We’ve had problems with others not answering us, so we called from a separate number to increase the chances you’d pick up. You are unable to reject an offer of employment without losing your benefits. If your performance is unsatisfactory during the time we’re rehiring you, you will be fired, and you’ll receive no benefits.

We’ve received a loan which is contingent on rehiring our old staff. We acknowledge most you are now making more money from unemployment, but we won’t be matching it. We want to inform you that the loan only covers the next few months, and we’ll likely have to lay you off again when the loan runs out, so please make necessary arrangements. Unfortunately, this would also be when the additional unemployment benefits from the CARES Act goes away, so you wouldn’t be receiving any extra money than either unless new laws are passed.”

Everyone is upset about this, the feeling is that we were tricked into working for a worse version of unemployment, and we have no leverage. Our supervisor continues to talk about bringing *more* people back, despite the lack of work. It’s not a tradeoff of financial aid for job security for most people, and I’ve been extremely stressed.

Do you have any advice for me, or suggestions on what you’d do in this situation?

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