If conditions at your job recently reached the untenable point, you may have chosen to save your sanity (and your health) by turning in your notice of resignation rather than waiting for matters to implode or for you to be terminated. Unfortunately, in many cases, employees who have quit instead of being fired may find themselves on the receiving end of a denial of unemployment benefits.
Are you still eligible for these benefits if your unemployment is due to your unwillingness to go along with an unsafe or unethical work environment rather than being fired? Read on to learn more about "involuntary separation" and how a unilateral change in your job description that causes you to quit could still render you eligible for unemployment benefits.
What types of employer actions can fall under the "involuntary separation" umbrella?
Involuntary separation is defined as any situation in which your employment was terminated because of an illegal, immoral, or unconscionable change in working conditions. For example, if you recently took protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and found, upon your return, that you had been illegally reassigned to a lower-paying job, quitting this lower-level job could render you eligible for unemployment benefits under the "involuntary separation" clause.
A workplace that has moved out of a reasonable commuting distance, a change in the physical demands of a job beyond what was communicated at hire, and a major change in working hours or shifts are all additional examples of situations in which involuntary separation can arise.
What will you need to show to demonstrate your eligibility for unemployment benefits?
Because unemployment benefits are administered on a state-by-state level, the specific circumstances that lead an individual to qualify for benefits can vary widely — however, in nearly all cases, an employee must have been involuntarily terminated or involuntarily separated from employment in order to receive unemployment benefits. Employees who simply decide to quit a job cannot proceed to take advantage of these benefits unless they're able to argue that their action was in response to a significant breach of the employer's duties or responsibilities (for example, quitting in lieu of being forced to perform a dangerous or illegal activity).
Therefore, to show that you qualify for state-level unemployment benefits in situations in which you unequivocally quit employment, you'll need to prove involuntary separation. The best place to start the research process is to look up your state's laws on involuntary separation; depending on how broadly your state defines this process, your burden of proof may be limited, and the procedural framework outlined by these laws can be the difference between an easy case and a complex one.
In many cases, hiring an attorney to litigate your unemployment claim (and perhaps proceed to a civil claim if your former employer continues to fight back) is your best shot at collecting all the funds to which you're entitled.
After being involved in a serious auto accident with a drunk driver, I struggled heavily with getting the driver's insurance company to open a claim. When the insurance company started pushing back, I knew I needed to do something. I spent a lot of time digging through the laws surrounding auto accident claims so that I knew what my legal rights were. I even talked with an auto accident attorney. I created this site to teach others about what I learned, including my court experience. I hope it helps you to determine how you should proceed with your auto accident case.