Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Jul 29, 2015

Can an employee who voluntarily quit still get unemployment benefits?

Q&AEmployee BenefitsTermination & Resignation 

We just received a notice from the Employment Department letting us know that one of our former employees has filed for unemployment benefits. This employee voluntarily quit a few weeks ago; can he now qualify for unemployment?

Possibly, depending on the circumstances. Generally, an employee who voluntarily quits without good cause is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, an employee who quits because he is subjected to harassment or a hostile work environment can still qualify for benefits. This is sometimes referred to as “constructive discharge.” Additionally, an employee who voluntarily quits to move because their spouse got a new job, to escape domestic violence, or due to other compelling family reasons may still qualify for benefits. The specifics vary a little from state to state, but there are definitely times when the employee will be eligible for benefits even after voluntarily leaving employment.