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Abusive Boss Told Me I Need to Quit

by Daniel Coughlin
(Austin, TX)

I worked for a boss who more and more had me doing his and his family's personal business. When he filed for a divorce from his wife, for over a year I had the added responsibilities of doing all the legal work, research, hunting down documents, etc. for my boss to provide his attorneys. In the meantime, I still had to handle the business duties, with daily interruptions to tend to such personal business.

My boss was a very caustic and verbally abusive man.

On my last day I was in the office doing my work with not expectation or thought that I would be quitting. But he called me into his office and started a harangue against me about not getting all of this things done in a timely manner.

I replied "this is all too much."

He said "then you need to quit." He told me to turn in a resignation letter, but I didn't.

So, without saying a word, except perhaps "okay" (I don't remember), I left the office.

I am filing for unemployment and fear that this will not be enough justification to get unemployment.

Hi Daniel,

It is very possible that you may initially be denied unemployment, but initial determinations are just that and an appeal is the solution.

You need to be very clear about the reasons you quit when you apply for unemployment. The state will probably follow up with phone calls to you and the employer to investigate your reasons for quitting.

Personally, I would have walked right back to my desk, sat down and wrote that resignation letter which would have detailed the reasons I was quitting right up to the "you need to quit part". (constructive discharge). It would not have
been a letter the employer would have happily provided to the state. Raises to many issues for the employer to answer, but you could have.

When people ask me these kind of questions, I make the assumption the truth is being told and my first thought is: You can win this!!

Just a guess, but this guy is probably not above lying to the state, but trust me, people who work in unemployment are a jaded bunch and the more experienced have developed keen bullshit detectors.

Just be truthful, and blunt about the degree of verbal abuse and the fact, that I'm sure, you were not hired originally to take care of your boss's personal business. And do not fail to return any calls you get from the state, or they will make their decision based on the available information.

The standard for deciding cases like yours is "would a reasonable person in the same circumstances have taken the same action as you".
Did you take steps to correct the situation (which I'm guessing is what's bothering you).

You'll just need to prove that it would have been futile and your bosses response of "you need to quit" will help with this, because you were trying to tell him when this all happened that your job and his personal business was just too much.

If you end up having to go to a hearing all the details will come out. Texas unemployment hearings are presided over by attorneys, they do most of the questioning and their objective, in your case, would be to develop the record to get enough information to decide whether you had good cause to quit.

I think you did. Let us know how it goes.

Good Luck,


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