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Can I collect unemployment if I resign during layoffs?

Fall River, MA |

I live in MA and work for a small company based in CA (work from home). They pay MA unemployment and other taxes (I paid MA state taxes, nothing in CA). Originally, we had 8 staff. In the last week, he's fired 2 people. 1 was fired, and then 5 of us submitted a grievance and a vote of no confidence in his leadership due to ongoing problems for the last 6 months. The same day the grievance was filed, he fired a 2nd person. He claims it was not in retribution (which is prohibited) but "in the works for awhile". I am afraid I will be next. If I resign, can I file for unemployment due to fear that I will be fired? I prefer to resign rather than being fired for my work history.

Sorry- "he" and "his" refers to our boss, the director/CEO. Our boss fired the first staff person last week. Then, 5 of the remaining 7 staff filed a grievance against him, and the boss fired 1 of us 5 a few hours after the grievance was fired. This happened yesterday.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. If someone voluntarily resigns, typically that person would not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Additionally, if someone is fired for cause, typically that person would also not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Typically unemployment benefits are available to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. Each persons situation is different, you should consult with a local lawyer who could discuss you specific scenario and provide you with some legal advice.

    This website provides general information as a public service for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law. Laws vary from state to state and are subject to change, which could affect the accuracy of the information. The material available on this site, including the attorney responses, is not legal advice or a substitute for your own legal counsel. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation and should not act on the information contained on this site without receiving professional legal counsel. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  2. Generally, people who resign are ineligible for unemployment. However, there are certainly some exceptions.

    Your post is confusing because it describes the exercise of power that most employees don't have--for example, the "vote of no confidence" is unusual. As such you may be in one of those unusual positions where you are outside the general rule. You should contact an attorney for help.

    Do you want accurate, personalized, legal advice that you can rely on? You will have to hire an attorney, not ask on Avvo. I am not your attorney and am not creating an attorney-client relationship by this post. I am therefore giving only general advice. This advice may not apply to you or your situation; may not take account of all possibilities, and may not match the advice I would give to a client. DO NOT rely on this advice or any other advice on Avvo to make your legal decisions. If you want an answer to a legal question you should retain an attorney who is licensed in your state.

  3. Resigning from a position usually disqualifies employees from receiving unemployment benefits. When someone is fired, the burden is on the employer to show that the worker is ineligible for benefits. When you quit, it is your responsibility to prove that you either quit for "urgent, compelling or necessitous" personal reasons or due to "good cause attributable" to your employer. Some reasons that have been found to be good cause are unsafe work conditions, discrimination, harassment, and failure to pay minimum wage. Good cause could be found for other reasons, but you may want to consult with an employment attorney about your situation before taking such a risk.

    In the meantime, start looking for another job. Of course, the best for you would be to avoid a gap in employment all together.

    Good luck.

    This answer is provided for guidance only. DO NOT rely on it as legal advice. We DO NOT have an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney in your area for a one-on-one consultation before pursuing any action or making any decisions.

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