California Unemployment If You Quit

You can not receive California unemployment benefits if you quit your job.




In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in California, you have to have lost your job through no fault of your own. This means that if you quit your job, you can't get unemployment.

Be sure that you can not quit your job because you didn't like it, or it was too hard, or because it didn't pay enough, or because the hours didn't work for your schedule - and still expect to collect unemployment.

If you are in a hostile work environment, or otherwise feel like you have to quit for a very good reason (such a threat to your health or safety), please take the following advice:

(See this forum thread for the whole story: )

The laws and requirements for unemployment eligibility vary from state to state, but most states do not allow you to collect unemployment benefits if you voluntarily quit your job. If a state does allow you to collect unemployment when you've quit your job - the requirement to do so will be VERY difficult to meet.

In most states, if you are fired for cause you may still be eligible to receive benefits - and the requirements in this case won't be as stringent as if you had quit.

It is my understanding that employers generally do not comment extensively on previous employees, or on the reason that they are not longer at their company, for fear of being sued. Most employers will generally verify employment dates and not comment on the reason you are no longer there, or offer any further details.

If your company fires you though, you can be sure they won't be writing you any recommendation letters.

I know how difficult a hostile work environment can be. I've been there. Still, I would suggest that you do not quit your job. If it is a large corporation, you should talk to someone in the Human Resources department about your situation and the hostile work environment. If you get fired and you have a wrongful termination case, it will be more difficult to appeal your case to the employment commission or more difficult to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit - as you will have willfully quit.

Millions of people are out of a job - so it looks like you'll be diving head first into a very difficult job market, no matter if your fired or quit.

Make them fire you.

Go on about performing your job duties, and do not do anything to provoke them to fire you. If they're going to fire you, they'll do it. If they continue the hostile work environment tactics, or increase them - you should contact the employment commission to see if you have any recourse or protections - as there are federal laws against hostile work environments.


Don't sign anything!

Don't sign any releases, forms, waivers, or anything.

If they present you with paperwork that has to be signed in order to receive a severance or your last check -- Don't sign it!

Take it to a lawyer, law school, smart aunt or uncle, or research and ask about the terms in the document online.

If you do end up signing it - remember that it is a legal document, so understand and agree to everything in it before you sign it. Also, remember that the terms are negotiable, because it is essentially a contract. If they want you to agree to their terms, you have the right to either:

a. Not sign it.
b. Negotiate the terms of the agreement.
c. Sign it.

Examples of ways you can negotiate this legal document, which is often referred to as a 'Separation Agreement':

a. Demand that the agreement state that you are being laid-off, not fired.
b. Demand that the company will not challenge your claim to collect unemployment benefits.

Still Have Questions?

To go back to the FAQ Page, click here: California Unemployment FAQ

To go the main California Unemployment page, click here: California Unemployment

Maybe We Can Help: 

If you can't find the answer to your question, you can fill out the comment form below and I will answer your question ASAP, or you can ask the The Unemployment Expert.


# Sara L 2011-01-07 21:39
My employer is restructuring my job and the hours are being reduced to 20/week and my hourly wage is being reduced. This will not be enough for me to live on and I want to quit and get another full-time job. Can I get unemployment while I seek other employment?
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# aliacia 2011-01-26 14:06
i have a 8 years working in the same place. buth two years ago, start a new company, and now my boss write me off twise. he is calling my attention for nothing.i never done anythimg right for him he always said i am the one who earn more many than the others one.i ask him for a rise and he cut my phone bill payment. having excellents reviews in the pass with the old company. iam gointrough for labor harresment, hostile work environment. he change my duties.iam having depressions i can't sleep well thinking on the situation and thinking what shoul i do. and crying out whole time should i quit my job.? should i qualify for unemployment.? i done everything to keep my job, buth now i can't handle anymore
sorry for my writting englesh.!! Ooo i live in salem Oregon. Please some body helpme to find out. iam getting sick for the health condition it's getting worse.
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# TB 2011-02-23 00:04
I was just informed that my position will be eliminated - the company has offered me another position with a significant pay cut (over 40%) - if I do not accept this downgrade, will I be able to collect benefits while I find another job? Thank you
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# Erik 2011-02-23 19:31
i am currently employed and live in Visalia Ca but will soon be moving to Northridge Ca for school. If I quit my job and are unable to find another job, will I be eligible to receive unemployment benefits?
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# Megan 2011-03-14 21:47
I had twins born with special needs and need to take care of them during the day. I need to find a new job with evening hours, but must quit asap to take care of my kids. We do not qualify for state assistance either. Can I collect unemployment?
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# elisabet 2011-03-23 21:34
I've been working at my current job for 4 years now, over the years i've had a few problems but last year in november/december was the worst i had to go through a sexual harassment case and a lot of hostility, before and after. About a month ago i called 211 information looking for help i started feeling a lot of stress and depression. so finally i couldn't handle it anymore so i just gave my two weeks notice this monday. Do you think i can qualify for unemployment?
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# Michelle 2011-04-05 00:17
I have been working from home 2 days/wk and in the office 2/days a week for 5 yrs now. My boss is now telling me that she now needs me in the office 4 days a wk and no longer working from home. I have no childcare for the extra 2 days she is asking me to come. Can I quit since she can no longer accomidate to my schedule and still collect unemployment?
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# Donna 2011-05-15 18:19
my husband must retire due to health reasons and we would not be able to stay in Ca.We plan on moving to Oreagon due to the much lower cost of living. Due to relocation would I be able to collect benefits until I find employment?
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# anita 2011-06-03 17:01
i've worked for 10 years, and now my husband just got a new job in a different city (3 hours away) do I quialfy for unemployement?
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# Frank 2011-06-18 13:35
My family and I live in Washington State and I am considering quitting my job due to personal medical issues. Over time it has become too physically demanding. We are planning on moving back to Southern California to be closer to family (mother-in-law has M.S.) and to try and pursue a less physically demanding career and maybe try and go back to school if that option is available. I DO NOT have work lined up. I am wondering if I quit and move my family would I would qualify for unemployment for reasons listed. With my job I do have a 401k/retirement plan. It's not much but would that void my chances of receiving benefits? Would they tell me to try and live off that? Also, do I file for unemployment in the state of Washington or file in California? I think Ca. but have been told by friends to file in Wa.
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# rosario 2011-07-15 02:08
Hello I'm asking for my sister she work for this pizza place in california she use to work 4 hr a day know they cut her to 2 hr or sometime non they make her drive to work n send her home. Can they do that they treat her bad make her do one thing n without finishing do anther n complaine cuz she didn't finish what she was doing or she's working n without her finish her job they just walk to her n tell her to go vhome what can she do
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# Lauren 2011-08-03 15:45
I have been working at my job for 5 years now. I have a one-n-half year old now and for the first year of my sons life my husband was taking care of him because he was unemployed. Now that he is working its hard for me to get to work with one car and find a babysitter. I can't afford daycare. Can I get unemployment if I quit my job to take care of my son??
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# Vickie 2011-09-07 11:27
I have been working at a company for 4 years on the graveyard shift, which is what I was hired on. The company is going to delete the graveyard shift altogether and told us that we can work the day shift. Most of us cannot work the dayshift as we have school, have a second job, have children at home and cannot afford child-care. We chose to work the nights. I can't work days. Do I qualify for unemployment benefits in California if I have small children at home and can;t work days? It's the same as a dayshift person who losses that shift and they ask if they can work over-nights. Most people just can't.
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# Alex 2011-09-15 13:42
Hi, I work for a non profit in Northern California and I have not received my last 5 pay period due to lack of funding.
Will this qualify me for unemployment benefits?
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# Antinett 2011-09-16 12:52
Yesterday I was told that in two weeks my hours will be cut in half from 40 hours a week to 20 hours a week. I will not be making enough to pay bills and live on. I am looking for another job but I need more income at the same time. Would I be able to collect unemployment if I quit?
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# Linda 2011-09-28 12:06
My son had a roofing job and quit it because he was promised another job with a different company the following Monday. When he called to start his new for the next day they told him it was to slow and couldn't hire him at that time. Now he is unemployed. Can he collect unemployment?
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# Linda 2011-09-28 12:07
Sorry the e-mail from me is California
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# Shawne 2011-11-02 01:12
I would like to know if I move out of my current county will I be able to draw unemployment? I am currently on disability due to cancer. I am due ti return to work within a month but my normal work schedule is for 2 jobs which makes for a fourteen hour day that I am not ready to do. I want to move to a town that the cost of living is not so high. Is this possible?
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# Robyn 2011-11-15 19:32
My employer is requesting that I change my 8 hr a day/ 40 hr work week to work 1 or 2 days of 10 hrs and the rest 8 hrs. a day. They will pay overtime but this is not condusive to my babystiter schedule. They said that if I cannot comply then "I just might not work out." Also, the people that I work with yell and cuss at each other and no supervisors do anything about it. I personally have emailed my supervisor and had meetings about it but he suggests that "We are all adults" and we should be able to handle it. They slam phones down, call you names and are just plain rude. Any suggestions? Can a person collect unemployment if they quit in this situation? Thanks
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# AE 2012-01-05 00:59
I would like to know if I would be able to collect unemployment benefits since I relocated to a different city. I currently live in Stockton and my job is in the Bay area, which is almost 2 hrs just one way. I don't make enough income to drive back and fourth each day. I have been doing this for about 3 months now. The commute has gotten pretty bad for me. I have been working there almost a year. At the moment I have been looking for jobs and haven't been able to find one yet. Will I be approved for benefits? I also was collecting benefits the prior year due to no fault of my own at a previous job. Please help?
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# Diaz 2012-01-18 01:19
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# giselle 2012-01-18 02:09
I quit my job for attending college to pursue a major and give my little boy a better quality of life. My Unemployment was denied. What are the chances I can appeal and be approved by a judge?
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# penny 2012-01-19 16:38
Hi I recently lost my home and I have no place to live. I am moving around from one friends house to another. I explained the situation to my employer and they had suggested to just rent a hotel room until we can get a place to live. but the problem with that is that we are currently are not financially set to just go and rent a hotel room especially with the rates for myself, my husband, and my 2 year old. We finally decide that we would move in with family but they live 7-8 hours away (another city not state)so that makes it difficult to come into my current work place. Will I receive benefits if I quit and find another job where i have relocated?
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# Backa 2012-01-19 21:55
I currently work in the state of Washington and soon to be married and moving to CA will I be eligible for unemployment benefit?
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# Evie L. 2012-01-30 13:21

I've been with my company for 5 years now, I'm one of 6 Hispanics in a company of mainly orientals. My position has come to a stop. My client is having issues which interfere with the work I did on a daily basis for them. My company hired another girl about 1 year ago (Jan. 2010) as a receptionist. My job came to a complete stop in Oct. 2011, since then the receptionist has been trained to do 2/3 other positions in the company. While one of my team mates was going on maternity leave in Nov. 2011, instead of having me take over as i had already trained to cover her desk in the past, they trained the other girl which is oriental. Throughout my team mate's maternity leave, I asked a few time for work, and i was advise that my team didn't have work for me, to just "hang in there' throughout her leave I helped out one of the girls with her account and the company complete project that no one had time to do. My teammate came back in in Jan. 2012, and they took the only thing i did on a daily basis, which was help one of my teammates and gave it to the new girl. No one told me, I kind of figured it out... There are other things but I've just felt indirect discrimination on since my account came to a stop. Everyone in my team including the new girl has work to do, except me. I'm still filing and scanning, taking on the tasks to do things my teammates don't want to do. I had a meeting with my supervisor and ass. manager regarding all of this and they told me that they just want to keep me open for when my job does come back. At the same time, when I asked my supervisor questions like: "why didn't you tell me this when i asked for work?" or "Why did you want to give me a small account when i was doing my tracing?" what change? the ass. manager would jump in and just repeat what they told me like 20 times; which is: "we just want to keep you open for when your tracing does come back..." I have paperwork from management with goals for me, which were to give me an account to help with and work while I am working my normal job title. now that i have nothing to do, they don't want to teach me anything new, now they are teaching this new girl everything I was supposed to learning. I do feel very uncomfortable at work, i feel discriminated, i feel sad and stressed because I feel put down. Is there anything I can do to help my situation? I don't want to accuse or start blaming people of discrimination but i am seriously feeling discriminated upon... Please help; I don't like waking up in the morning knowing that i have to work in a place that is making me feel like there is wrongful deprivation of career opportunity or wrongful demotion...
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# Pamela 2012-02-27 23:20
If I have 2 jobs and I get fired from one of my jobs, but I still have one job can I get unemployment? California
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# DONNA 2012-03-19 18:57
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# Nicole 2012-03-29 23:35
I've been at my job for 8 months (6 1/2 weeks I was on maternity leave). Its a small company and my boss seems to think that the law doesn't apply to him. He's always been a little fishy and I had gotten used to it, but lately he's been doing things that are immoral and may be illegal. And he's having me do them. Since working there I've become anemic, I can't sleep , and now I get bloody noses almost every day. I don't know if I can quit and collect unemployment without putting myself in the line of fire. In the end he'd get fined but I'd get in serious trouble bc technically I did what he told me to. I don't know what to do.
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# Barry 2012-05-05 21:54
I have an Admin position at a CA priavate boarding school, my contract is up this month. My school wants me to return and says a new term contract will be offered.

If we can't come to an agreement on the contract terms, ie: they included room and board in the current contract, but I expect that to be an issue this year....they pay rent for housing, but I have to pay utilities or such is what I expect.

Can I qualify for Unemployment if I decline their contract based on the terms are not acceptable??
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# Chelsea 2012-06-13 17:40
I am in a bit of a pickle. My fiance is possibly looking at taking a better paying job, so that I may finish school and take care of our 18 month old son. This job also takes us over 4 hours from our current place of employment, which is way to far away to commute and keep my current job, and this place of business has only one location, so there are no hopes of me being transferred elsewhere. If my fiance gets this job, he will be the sole provider for our family. Am I able to recieve UI benefits in the state of CA, if I am relocating due to the primary provider for the family getting a new job, outside of commuting distance, and because I cannot be transferred to another location with our current employer, or what? I need to know so that I can have peace of mind in the transition between leaving this job and going to the next. Any help would be much appreciated. Also, if he takes this job, I will be the only care for our child, on top of college, so I'm not sure if this has any factors in the determination of eligiblity for UI benefits in CA.
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# Holly 2012-07-23 14:00
I have been working for the same job for about 3 years now. I bought a house an hour away (45 miles) about a year ago and have been commuting ever since. My car recently took a dive and the engine died. It will cost over $1500 to fix it and I don't have that money now. For the past couple of days I have been borrowing a friend's car to get to work but I cannot use it after this week. Can I qualify for unemployment if I cannot get to work? I can't take public transportation because it is 45 miles away. Please let me know.. I am stressing out about my situation.
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# Daniel1038 2012-08-03 03:52
I had a good union job making 100,000 dollars a year. I got divorced 5 years ago and my exwife has remarried. She has moved our 6 year old twin sons to Texas to be closer to his family. I was told by the courts I will now only see them twice a year because of the 1600 mile distance. I want to see them more than twice a year, so I quit my job and moved to Texas also. I filed for unemployment before I left California. Am I eligable to collect unemployment?
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# rachael 2012-09-22 22:49
i was hurt on the job in may and was on "modified duty" until a few weeks ago. when i went "full duty" again, my employer put me in a position working in the exact environment where i was injured even though i asked to be placed in a different area. also, myself and several co-workers are constantly have paycheck errors that sometimes go unresolved. Are these good reasons for quitting and applyihng for unemployment?
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# lin 2012-10-09 14:30
Please help. I am in diff situation. I am stress because i have phobia working with the suppervisor from the experience. I cant concentrate to work so i made mistakes. I heard that they may fire me. Should i quit my jobs? if they fire me, can i collect EDD?
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# Roger 2012-11-06 01:17
I got laid off because i had sex with the president of the companies personal secretary .Seems he had a thing for her to and he was a married . Can he legally do this to me?
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# Bill 2012-11-08 19:18
I quit my job after 10 years for another one closer to home. I was then laid off after 2 months. Can I collect unemployment benifits from the first employer even though I quit? California
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# Mike 2012-11-23 04:30
My husband job has been really slow, to where they been laying off people it's gotten worst to the point where people have been quitting on their own, The company gave my husband two choice either quit or get fired. He quit and he has a family with two kids to take care of. And we can't get edd?
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# Jane 2013-05-26 21:12
I am currently in a working situation where there are bats in the workplace. Due to the fact that they are protected, the company isn't taking ant means to rid them. I was not told of this health risk when I was hired. They have warning signs on what to do if you see one, but I don't think I should have to risk my health when I go to work.

Also, I work in a short-staffed environment and have had to work so far twice on 6 day straight shifts with no OT. My boss tells me they don't have to pay unemployment if there is a different pay period separating the days.

On top of everything else, I feel I'm working in a hostile environment. One of my co-workers sits there and dies very little while whoever happens to work with her is expected to do all or most of the work. I'm not talking possible work that is just burdensome, I'm talking about work that takes at least 2people to do with a 2hour time limit to get done. I've injured both of my hands doing all of it because she doesn't have to do barely any.
I've had to work on my lunch break to get things done on time.
This co-worker harrasses people when stressful situations the point of disrespect. She orders people around to take her service calls when she's the one who answers the call because she doesn't know what to do..she's been working there for 9 years! Her job title is the same as everyone else; she's not supervisor or manager!

Several co-workers have mentioned this complaint as well but nothing is ever done about it.

Please let me know if there is a possibility of quitting with unemployment due to the health hazzard and hostile environment snd could I get my OT if I go to the labor board as and apply for a wage claim? I'm working in California.
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# Monica 2013-05-27 03:10
If i quit my job because my brother was murdered and my family and I relocate at another city. The city i moved is over a 3 hour drive to my job. Do I qualify for unemployment?
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# Michelle33 2013-06-24 11:55
My husband was hired at a job 3 hours away (still in Ca) from us. After 2 months of his commuting back and forth, while I worked full time and took care of our 2 year old, we decided to move to where his new job was. I did quit my job of 5 years, gave 6 weeks notice, and am on good terms with my previous employer. I keep reading about the Family Unit Clause and that I'd qualify for it since I had to relocate for my husband. Of course I've tried called the EDD to speak with a human to see if what I am reading is correct. I was wondering, since that isn't working, if anyone can help me with this here. I appreciate any feedback! Thanks!
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# Alex13 2013-09-10 22:53
I have been working at a fast food restaraunt for almost 2 years. I was not happy at my first work place so i had to relocate to a different city, where as i was much happier and told i would gey trained for a higher postion which was never possible as to where recruiting happend. I was also past due for an evaluation as too where i was told i was in good working experiance an told a raise was going to be place. I would up to 7 to 8 hour shifts an sometimes work overtime possibly hoping for a quicker raise. My situation is would i be able to collect unemployment due to the fact that i had done well on my evaluation an promised a raise for the many hours an hard work done for the year an nine months. Feel like i have been taken advantage of and not paid for the labor.
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