Can you quit your job for any reason under the sun? Yes you can, just like an employer can fire you for any reason he/she/it might, be it with, or without good cause.
However, when you ask; Can I quit and collect unemployment benefits, know that at-will employment is now overridden by individual state unemployment insurance laws.
Every one of those puts the burden of proving good cause for voluntarily leaving a job squarely on you, the moving party.
But this should bring to mind the predominant question about what makes a voluntary quit eligible for benefits and why most are found to be without good cause after an unemployment appeal hearing.
The state of Ohio attempts to relate the idea of good cause this way:
"There is, of course, not a slide-rule definition of just cause. Essentially, each case must be considered upon its own particular merits." Traditionally, just cause, in the statutory sense, is that which, to an ordinary intelligent person, is a justifiable reason for doing or not doing a particular act."
But, unemployment insurance is a federally mandated program and it provides all states with boundaries and guidance to administer their individual UI laws ..
So, I like DOLETA's explanation better.
Good Cause for Voluntarily Leaving - In all states individuals who leave their work voluntarily must have good cause if they are not to be disqualified. In many states, good cause is explicitly restricted to good cause connected with the work, attributable to the employer or involving fault on the part of the employer. However, in a state where good cause is not explicitly linked to the work, the state may interpret its law to include good personal cause or it may limit it to good cause related to work. Since a state law limiting good cause to the work is more restrictive, it may contain specific exceptions that are not necessary in states recognizing good personal cause. (For example, an explicit provision not disqualifying an individual who quits to accompany a spouse to a new job might not be necessary in a state which recognizes good personal cause; it would be necessary in a state restricting good cause to that related to the work).
Thirty nine states restrict good cause to be connected to the work.
But the explanation of good cause to quit leaves out a few pertinent facts about good cause. Like what are the key elements mentioned in UI laws that the word "merits" refer to and actual allow other to believe you had good cause.
Pretty darn easy if you ask me. I didn't begin my career in the unemployment field as mistrustful of employers, but time and time again, I became aware that they were simply taking advantage of employee trust and loyalty, which in the end, often became their downfall in the unemployment appeal hearings I used to coordinate for employer clients.
I read both your appeal letters and those of the employer for a voluntary quit issue, then waited for the proof from the claimant to fulfill their burden to prove good cause connected to the work, or employer.
Proof of what?
Proof they exhausted efforts to preserve the employment because they were desirous of maintaining employment. And it was only when the employer failed to respond reasonably to help them preserve the employment relationship, they felt forced to quit their job.for reason beyond their control.
It didn't take me long to figure out why employers appealed voluntary quits that received benefits .. Most claimants didn't realize it is still while an employee, they had the ability to create proof of cause for a just in case scenario.
There is a difference between having good cause and proving to a neutral third party (the unemployment department) the employer gave you no reasonable alternative except to quit.
But then I answered questions to help you understand getting proof of good cause may require you to evaluate whether your cause has any potential for creating merits with muscle.
Or and even bigger problem .. coming out of your protective shell at work and finding ways to document those efforts to preserve your job .. even when you think you know it will be futile.
But, like I said at the top, this is true, only if you're concerned about getting unemployment benefits and asked me .. Can you quit for .. whatever your reason may be.
Otherwise .. feel free to quit whenever the mood strikes because this is always a choice within your control .. regardless of receiving unemployment benefits for quitting a job.
More about Unemployment When You Quit