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Can I collect unemployment if I quit rather than be fired in California?

by Anonymous

18 months ago I began work with my current employer. When I was hired, I was hired as a business development strategist with NO expectation of sales quotas, goals, etc. Sales was handled by another group, specifically tasked with bringing in new clients.

When the economy stumbled at the end of 2008, my company changed the roles and responsibilities of all people at my level. Basically, we were tasked with sales and given specific sales targets, and told failure to meet theses targets would be considered non performance. This was put in writing in the form of an employment contract, which I signed, and went into effect on January 1, 2009.

Fast forward a few months. I am now approaching the first sales performance milestone and I will not hit my sales quota. Rather than get fired, I prefer to quit. If I quit, will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

I don't know if it is relevant, but I received no training/support of any kind to help me succeed in my new role. Additionally, my one and only performance review (prior to my new role as a sales person) is stellar.

Hi Anonymous,

You are talking about a quit in anticipation of discharge vs. a quit in lieu of discharge.

I'm very doubtful the state would view this as a constructive discharge because the employer has not taken any action as of yet to terminate you.

If you need unemployment benefits, I would wait until such time and ask the employer if they would allow you to quit vs. being fired. Many employers actually offer this and as long as the claimant includes the fact that they are quitting in lieu of being discharged in their resignation letter for performance issues and the added reason you were not able to attain goals, the state will view it as a discharge and if presented right, usually as a discharge without good cause.

This is a difficult termination for an employer to show misconduct for. There's just too many variables to mention here, but it is not difficult for a claimant to show that rather than misconduct, they were fired for inability.

Here's the link to the section of the CA eligibility guide which discusses this issue.

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