California Unemployment If You Quit
You can not receive California unemployment benefits if you quit your job.
IF YOU HAVE A JOB, DO NOT QUIT IT
IF YOU QUIT YOUR JOB, DON'T EXPECT TO COLLECT UNEMPLOYMENT
IF YOU HAVE A JOB, AND ARE LOOKING TO CHANGE JOBS, DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB UNTIL YOU HAVE A NEW ONE
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: http://unemploymenthandbook.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1708 )
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