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Can I quit a job when wages are owed and refused to pay?

Palmdale, CA |

Company owes me back wages for 2 months and are refusing to pay promised hourly wage earned as well as earned holiday pay.I was barely surviving as it was. They didn't show up at mediation hearing with Labor and industries. Due to this financial loss I have gotten behind on bills and had to leave my apartment and move with family nearly 1.25 hours away from job. It is costing me $30 a day in gas now leaving me with about $45 after gas per day to live on. They have not honored their promised obligations. They told me they would not pay me my past holiday pay because I took them to court. My hearing won't be scheduled for 6-12 months. I have 2 witness statements. Can I quit this job and qualify for unemmployment? Could I qualify for unemployment if I quit due to this? Not sure what to do.

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Attorney answers 3


If they are paying you now for the hours you are presently working, you would be unlikely to get unemployment benefits if you quit. That would probably be seen as a voluntary quit separate from the past wages they owe you from previous work


In order to qualify for benefits, you have to demonstrate that you the reason you voluntarily separated your employment with the company was for good cause. Under the circumstances you describe, the good cause may not be sufficient, though the distance and gas mileage would be a factor. You may wish to consult with an employment attorney in your area for more specifics, especially if you are still owed back wages for work already performed.


Take a look at the following web pages put up by the EDD that thoroughly discuss the concept of a voluntary quit. Not all resignations are considered a voluntary quit. There are many circumstances that can be considered good cause to quit a job and still get benefits.

Apply for benefits and be sure to explain the good cause for your quitting the job. Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

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