Most of us begin a job, with high hopes we’ll be challenged and successful. Some employees, however, will quickly learn the culture of the organization they work at is suffering from a lack of ethical human beings in charge.

Although the culture of an organization generally drifts down from the upper echelons, no matter how big the company is, as a group of subordinates, we all have employee workplace rights we can use to limit the demoralizing experience many unemployed can tell us about.

Employees are free to choose to act responsibly, or act as if an unwilling victim of a bad at-will employer.

Since 2007 I have been writing and talking to former employees about how to win unemployment appeal hearings. The sad fact is that for many, the only reason they can’t win is because they ignore the warning signs and how exercising a right as an at-will employee is also seen as a reasonable response when an employer uses tricks of the trade to reduce employees to a line item for bottom line results.

There are many examples throughout the recession of people losing their jobs and not receiving unemployment benefits merely, because an employer was able to count on an employee’s ignorance of how to respond to an employment situation .. lasting beyond the last day at work and ending with denied benefits.

At that point, it may be too late to go back and correct naive choices.

So, maybe the questions should of never been about how to collect unemployment benefits, but how to effectively exercise employee rights in the workplace for job survival .. or at minimum the ability to prove the loss of job wasn’t really your fault.