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Can I Quit Because of My Verbally Abusive Boss

I have been working for my boss for a couple years now and he has gotten way out of line in the way he talks to me.

He calls me every name in the book while he is screaming. I have been in tears many times. Cant sleep at night. I am also on antidepressants.

I am afraid to quit my job because I need the income. If I do quit, can I receive unemployment while looking for another job.

Chris's Response To Another Question About Quitting That Ignores Good Cause to Quit

I of course feel bad for you, or anyone who tells me ..

He calls me every name in the book while he is screaming.

I have been in tears many times.

Cant sleep at night.

And of course the final straw that rarely solves this sort of bully/victim situation ..

I am also on antidepressants.

Like I've said .. I feel bad for you, but it's another deja vu question that has driven me so bonkers at times I literally stopped answering questions because I couldn't change my answer about the possibility of unemployment benefits or get in touch with my own empathy any longer because of the knot on my head from running into the brick wall like insistence of the victim mentality .. that thinks just a story of victimization should suffice as good cause to quit. Well, it is enough .. unless you then apply for unemployment benefits which is an insurance program funded by employer UI taxes on at-will employee wages.

Ask me if I think you might be able to quit and receive unemployment benefits, I'm going
to ask if you would mind giving me some details relevant to how you might prove the burden of good cause to quit to have a chance at actually being able to collect benefits because the quit was attributable, in a quasi-legal sense to the employer.

The fact is, that (good cause) is not found in the fact your boss has brought you to tears while he screamed names at you, or that you can't sleep at night, or that some doctor is treating the understandable stress you're experiencing under these trying condition by medicating you into submission to the bully treatment!

In terms of precedent unemployment decisions .. without the proof of good cause, you'll probably be chalked up to be a claimant given to being hypersensitive and therefore, not a reasonable person which is a standard of law often used to prove stuff to a preponderance the unemployment burden demands.

Good cause becomes real when a claimant has by another "reasonable person's made efforts to resolve a problem and even for someone who is being treated shabbily and potentially illegally by their employer .. those efforts may absolutely have to include evidence they first tried exercising an employee right at their disposal .. while still employed to find that resolution.

My goal has never been to to upset you, or anyone else, but if someone is going to ask a question about unemployment, I have this crazy expectation they actually read at least the basics of how it works first .. if not for any other reason, than to just ask a better question because they did.

Moving this to the Q&A's about quitting.


Comments for Can I Quit Because of My Verbally Abusive Boss

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Mar 19, 2015
Hang in there
by: Nate C.

Is there anyway you can stick it out a little longer. Possible you could video him when he is doing his tirade. Its very easy to be holding a camera phone in an inconspicuous way so as to not be obvious that your videoing him. Maybe even if you could get an audio recording. If you every get any notes with this kind of harassment make sure you keep copies of them as evidence.

I of course concede to Chris comments as she is the pro here but thought I would offer my two nuts.

Mar 19, 2015
Good Point Nate - Stick it out until ..
by: Chris

I guess I did forget to encourage the person to stick it out!

Just wanted to point out that sticking it out is the thing to do here until she/he has evidence she has made exhaustive efforts and exhaustive is a word open to interpretation of what the problem is in the first place.

But I would probably file a sexual harassment complaint as my first step .. because of the name calling, but then I'm also female and imagined this was a woman and knew what she meant by every name in the book.

But the recording suggestion might work too, if she/he happens to live in a state that allows covert recording .. either audio, or video .. or her boss gives his permission to be recorded .. well........

In some states it is actually illegal .. a felony, to record conversations when the other person doesn't know it is happening.

A little googling can help anyone find out if their state is a one person, two party, or all party consent state .. or if there are further things you should know to avoid your own troubles.

This is the reason why we here that recorded message when we call some customer service center "your call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes".

One thing I forgot to ask this person ..

Does your boss ever make you feel like you are in physical danger?

I know someone who dealt with the same type of boss, but when he threw his knife to make it stick in her desk .. she had had enough.

She didn't call the cops, but wrote a resignation letter clearly describing the incident.

She was initially denied benefits, but she appealed and won .. with the help of a rep who just happened to be a former UI hearing officer.

Click here for tape recording laws by state

Or better still, go see an employment attorney when it can do you the most good .. when you're still employed and some still want to help.

May 09, 2015
Document, Document, Document
by: Anonymous

Recording your employer is an idea, also keeping a journal at home and consulting your Employee Handbook might be helpful (if there is an Employee Handbook).

Chris has spoken before about preserving your job and speaking to the employer personally (that also means HR, if there is an HR), then "recording" in your journal what took place shows you made best efforts to protect your job and yourself.

Mainly, be the adult in the room. It is unfortunate how often employers can forget to be an adult human, when in the position of power, which like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Well, you have power, too. Be strong and seek therapy if necessary.

May 09, 2015
Document, Document, Document is Right .. but
by: CK

Recording conversations, or bullying events of your employer means to me you have also first made yourself of aware of whether your state is a one person, two person, or all party consent state.

In many states, recording your boss while they are screaming at you can actually be a felony if you did not first get their permission to record.

So be careful with that advice.

Here's a resource that can help you figure out what your state requires, or doesn't allow with recording conversations.

It's for journalist, but don't forget, when you complain to an agency like the EEOC .. you are actually reporting you think an employee right may be being violated and you sure don't want to be found guilty of violating any laws yourself.

May 09, 2015
By the way I liked the advice to be ..
by: Chris -

To be the adult in the room ..

Perfect for all sorts of employment problems!!

May 01, 2018
constructive discharge ?
by: Anonymous

Worked for employer for several years. No wrote ups never been in trouble. I had to report a supervisor to higher up due to ethical concerns. Once I reported I have been retaliated against since. 4 weeks of harrasment, threats and other absolutely craziness. I actually had to record a conversation because no one believed me and I couldn't prove what I had been reporting. I have emails, text and still nothing has been done. I decided because of all this maybe I should leave. Gave my notice. Things got worse. I have reported these instances, I have documented them. I even have witnesses. My hours have been cut back and I was told by office manager that these aren't th


Aren't what?

Constructive discharge, per

Constructive dismissal, also known as constructive discharge or constructive termination, is a modified claim of wrongful termination. Wrongful constructive dismissal occurs when, instead of firing the employee, the employer wrongfully makes working conditions so intolerable that the employee is forced to resign.

Since you gave your notice already, it's crazy for a boss (who acts on behalf of an employer as an agent of the employer) to ratchet up the retaliation to that end .. especially if you've been documenting to counter a burden for a discharge, or the burden of quitting to prove fault as being attributable to the employer .. by a similar reasonable person.


Aug 29, 2020
Branch manager
by: Meegan

My boss was a bully! Verbally abusive. I spoke to HR. They sent a man into my office who I believe, sexually abused me. Not physically, but mentally. I could no longer take the abuse, so for much to his happiness, I resigned. I was treated so unfairly that I could not stay there another minute. Do I have any rights?

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