Who can collect unemployment in California

If you are considering leaving your current job and pursuing legal action against your employer, you may want to know, Can you get unemployment if you quit?

Your reason for leaving the company will have a big impact on whether you can get unemployment benefits if you quit in California.

How You Leave Matters

Just because you are no longer employed does not mean that you are automatically eligible for unemployment benefits. There are three common reasons that people become unemployed, and they each impact unemployment benefits differently. 

Layoffs

Layoffs often occur when an employer downsizes a company or changes the structure of a company. This was a common occurrence throughout the early stages of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Economic downturns or changes in company operations could lead to positions becoming irrelevant. Or these changes may result in a lack of work for employees.

California unemployment benefits are available for laid-off employees. 

Firing

A person who was deemed to not be a good fit for the company or was unable to do the job requested will likely be able to receive unemployment benefits. But if the employee was fired for misconduct, they may not receive these benefits. 

Misconduct occurs when an employee had a duty to perform their job, willfully and knowingly breached the duty, and the breach harmed the employer’s business. 

Quitting 

Voluntarily leaving your job often results in ineligibility for unemployment benefits. Quitting implies that you are capable of performing the duties but no longer wish to do so. There is an exception for quitting if you have “good cause.”

What Is Good Cause for Quitting Your Job in California

In California, good cause to quit exists when a substantial motivating factor in the employee’s decision to quit was a “real, substantial, and compelling” reason. Work-related or personal reasons are applicable in California.

Work-related reasons may include issues such as:

  • Workplace discrimination,
  • Harassment,
  • Unsafe working conditions, and
  • Fraudulent or illegal activities.

Personal reasons may include health issues that impact work, domestic violence at home, caring for an ill family member, or relocating with a spouse.

If the employee left to take a job elsewhere and the new employment opportunity fell through, this may also count as a good cause. 

Receiving unemployment if you quit, requires showing that you made an effort to address the issue that caused you to leave. This is primarily for issues related to the working environment and not personal issues. 

Does Filing a Lawsuit Impact Unemployment If You Quit?

If you leave your job for good cause and are eligible for unemployment benefits, you may still file a lawsuit against your employer for various reasons, including most “real, substantial, and compelling” reasons that may have led to your voluntary resignation. 

An experienced employment law attorney will be able to determine how your lawsuit and unemployment benefits will impact one another.

The attorneys at Workplace Rights Law Group specialize in helping employees understand the value of their claims. No two cases are the same, and your situation is deserving of a personalized strategy.

Contact us for your free case review.

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