When you quit your job you are not automatically disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.  Once you quit your job, you will have to prove that you had a good reason for leaving it.  If you decide not to provide that information to the Unemployment Personnel, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits.  You may also be disqualified if you provide a reason for leaving and your employer provides a different reason stating that your reason is false, you will be denied benefits.  Because the employer pays into the unemployment plan, the employer’s answer will best your answer.   When you decide to quit your job, your employer will most likely ask you to fill out a letter of resignation.  What they are doing is asking you to explain in your letter why you are quitting and then if you decide to file for unemployment benefits, the letter will be used as evidence that you did not quit with good reason.  Your employer will read your letter of resignation and ask if there is anything they can do to resolve the issue.  This will also be used to show that the employer tried to work with you on said issue but you quit anyway.  When you apply for unemployment and you give job related reasons for quitting your job, your previous employer will state that they tried to meet you more than halfway.  Some of the better reasons for leaving could be:

  • Transportation Problems
  • Safety hazards
  • Health hazards at the job
  • Hostile work environment
  • Material changes in the conditions of the job

You may need the employer for a letter of recommendation so you may decide to write the resignation letter that you were asked to do.  Doing so limits your chances severely of achieving unemployment benefits.  You will still have an opportunity to explain your side of the story but arguing the point will be very difficult.

Some state define what they consider to be a god cause for quitting, but it is actually easier to argue for quitting your job and achieving unemployment benefits if your state does not have clear cut rules on what they consider to be a disqualification. If there was reason for leaving your employer, the burden of proof will fall back on you. If you decide to quit and seek unemployment benefits you must demonstrate at least one of the following:

  1. You will have to prove that you were forced to leave the employer.  If this is the case, your separation will be judged on grounds of willful misconduct
  2. You will have to prove that you left for a good cause.

Leaving your job to improve your income by finding other work or going to school will most likely disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits.

If you feel that you are compelled to quit your job or given the option of resigning rather than being fired may make you eligible for unemployment benefits.  Again the burden of proof will be on your side to prove that the employer made it extremely difficult to stay employed there.  Be sure to give clear examples and present any documentation that you may have to show that the employer harshly criticized you unfairly or something that gives unemployment personnel a good indication that you would not have been able to flourish there due to no fault of your own.  An employee has to show that you left even though you had a genuine desire to work and be self supporting.

You may also be able to prove that you were forced to leave if your employer creates additional work for you causing your health to deteriorate.  You will have to make sure you give unemployment personnel a true picture of what the situation was and a timeline of when you spoke with appropriate supervision and what was said.  When you have applied for unemployment has to prove beyond reason that a situation occurred that gave you no other alternative than to leave work by quitting.  Your situation that you present must show that you did everything in your power to keep your job.

If you quit your job because your position was modified or your hours were changed from full time to part time, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits and not disqualified because your employer made and unfair or unreasonable change to your position duties or reduced your hours significantly.  As an applicant for unemployment you will need to prove that there was not another option available to you before quitting your job.  You will have to convince the unemployment interviewer that you could not continue working there under the current conditions.  The conditions need to be unreasonable or causing undue stress that within the employer’s control but they were unable or chose not to do anything about it.  As you explain your situation discuss how you were please with your job and your working environment in the pass and then some factor in your job changed that provoked you to quit.  There may have been harassment from a co-worker or another employee within the company.  Explain how your position was before the targeting occurred and then explain how it became unbearable for you.  Remember that the unemployment interviewer will try to look for other reasons why you quit your job and they may ask probing questions to establish some other type of dissatisfaction that caused you to be unhappy.

During your interview, you must emphasize that you consider all alternatives prior to leaving your job.  Tell the interviewer about any conversations you had with the person who was targeting you and also your supervisor.

List anything that you tried prior to quitting your job and explain to the unemployment interviewer why each one didn’t work.  If a transfer was offered to you, explain why that wasn’t something that was possible for you or your family.  If your employer offered a leave of absence, explain why you felt that option wasn’t a good one for you.  You should stress that in spite of all your attempts, you couldn’t change the situation that prompted you to leave your employer.

It is always best to give your employer notice when you decide to quit.  If you did not notify them, then you must convince the unemployment interviewer that the situation would not have changed if you had notified them.  Explain how you tried to express concerns and complaints through the normal channels but you were not listened to.  You can also explain that others have done the same thing and your employer refused to listen to your complaints.  Since your employer ignored the problems, they should have known that eventually someone would have to leave to due to the unbearable situation.  Remember, the reason why you quit is not because of anyone else.  It has to be due to first hand information that you received by being in the situation.