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Did You Quit Your Job With Good Cause to Collect Unemployment Benefits? 

To quit your job for any reason, is likely your right in the United States of America. 

I use the word likely, because the majority of employment relationships between an employer and an employee, are considered to be entered into, or ended at will, even without good cause. 

The possibilities and the difficulties for at will employees trying to collect unemployment, are presented in unemployment laws, whether you voluntarily leave your job, or get fired, which is when the possibility and/or difficulty of proving the burden, belongs to the employer.    

When you quit a job, however, it is you, the employee, who must sustain YOUR burden to prove fault was that of your employer .. throughout the unemployment process. 

Given that the unemployment process is potentially a three phase process of quasi-legal tests, but the first two being designed to uncover relevant facts related to the cause for quitting, being the fault of the employer, is the problem for the unemployment claimant.


Let's Start With Reason You  Quit Your Job 

So, where do I go to refresh my memory on how a state may come down on the reasons people tell me they quit their job .. that sound like good personal cause to me?

To know more about this .. and the burden of voluntarily quitting for and with good cause, you should take a look at the Nonmonetary Eligibility charts.  

The DOL provides the Unemployment Law Comparison Charts, to all of us.

To me, the charts are the most comprehensive set of unemployment resources on how unemployment works .. state to state.

I still begin with the comparisons .. when I feel compelled to research an issue for someone else.  

Problem is .. I force everyone to scroll down the resource page to get to the link to above

Many of the Nonmonetary comparison charts are devoted to breaking down the common reasons people voluntarily leave a job, albeit those reasons are mostly about good cause to quit for personal reasons.

In any case, I always check for a footnote, because there it might cite the authority for a state's stance seen in the chart above. 

This often prompts, or dissuades me digging more.

Might be a law (L), regulation (R), or interpretation (I) that forces me to dig deeper .. which is when I force scroll futher down the page and see if I have a link to a state's unemployment decision digest.

But let's face it, a chart isn't going to provide us with an exhaustive list of reasons or ways to argue why we quit a job with good cause.

Which is why you'll find a lot of  questions about quitting and then collecting unemployment benefits .. here.

Free Tips on How to Prove a Quit Was WITH Good Cause

When I am asked how, or if I think, someone can effectively quit a job with good cause .. vs. proving good cause after quitting, I generally ask the same questions to search for options I think may help, in addition to just having to testify about good cause.

Since evidence is what supports, underscores and weights testimony on the record of an unemployment appeal hearing, the expectation is the evidence will effectively to help sustain the burden of proving why quitting was due to some fault, or unreasonable action of an employer.

Generally classified as things such as a substantial change to the terms and conditions and conditions by the employer, or an unreasonable choice of inaction or action by an employer that can turn an otherwise suitable job .. into a job that is no longer suitable to the individual.

But therein lies the rub for employees who might of proven good cause .. if they had only ... 

This is how unemployment works for employees and employers .. and I can't change the rules .. but I do hope to get more people to see earlier in the game, why it's important to work and keep an eye on unemployment rules .. because when you do .. you're better able to clear a path to benefits .. before you quit.  


Don't do what many employees do that usually becomes a mistake.

Quitting a job on a sudden impulse. 

Understand that a resignation letter can be written to do more than thank an employer for the opportunity they gave you .. while tendering a resignation for something  you think is good cause to collect benefits.  

A resignation letter like any other connected to the employment .. is a document that you may craft, in that lays out some sound reasoning for why you're quitting to help later place the fault for quitting on the employer,  .. but only if you apply for unemployment benefits.

Proving the burden you quit with good cause, is knowing the burden usually includes proving you exhausted efforts to preserve your employment, before you quit, that would also satisfy another similar reasonable person .. enough had become enough.

For example, let's say you wind up at a hearing and ask the employer's first hand witness (usually a direct supervisor) what they recall from the meeting you asked for, to discuss a co-worker acting inappropriately toward you.

I'm sorry, I do not recall us having a conversation with you about inappropriate conduct.

How do you get passed that?

This brings me the idea of why I think it's important for both halves of an at will employment relationship, to know how to craft effective documentation.

What you testify to is the truth of what happened to cause you to quit, but a  document helps to prove it happened the way you told the story and not the way your boss told their truth.

Without a evidence, such as emails, or whatever works to help you prove a fact, you're leaving the burden of proof to an unemployment hearing officer allowed wide discretion to judge which testimony is more credible when all they are given to work with is he said / she said testimony. 

Which is precisely what employers use written warnings to avoid.  Better to  prove your guilt of work misconduct with well framed written warnings intended to give you a chance to preserve your employment first. 

Of course even a well crafted piece of paper may be subject to a rebuttal.

Did you know an employee may counter document too?  It can be an important step should you feel you need  to rebut why a written warning is not a violation of an employer's rule, or policy.   And  you can ask that your response be placed with the reprimand, in your personnel file.

If you're going to speak with your employer about an issue you think must be resolved to continue in the relationship, follow up to clarify the content of the discussion because you never know if you will need to weight your testimony .. that the conversation happened. 

Documenting your efforts to preserve an employment relationship helps show you were an employee desirous of maintaining the employment relationship and potentially that the employer was acting unreasonably to help you in those efforts .. depending on the problem you were trying to resolve. 

But don't take my word for it, you can see for yourself, in  more than just one state .. that actually puts forth the effort to explain how it's unemployment laws work.

Yea .. more free links to unemployment law resource page I linked to up top.


Authoritative Explanations of Good Cause to  Voluntarily Quit a Job

The burden of proof for a voluntary quit is difficult for employees to meet, because they don't commonly document for the purpose of creating evidence of their actions, including those intended to preserve a job .. which is quite unlike employers trained to document for the sake of creating a paper trail, prior to terminating an employee for misconduct, or forcing an employee to quit in lieu of being terminated, which means in essence, you were still fired, making the burden the employers.

I'm not making that up .. it's how unemployment law works .. the actual moving party to end the relationship .. get the burden to prove fault.

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 that recognizes good personal cause; it would be necessary in a state restricting good cause to that related to the work.) 

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