Tennessee Unemployment If You Quit

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




In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Tennessee, 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 Tennessee Unemployment FAQ Page, click here: Tennessee Unemployment FAQ

To go the main Tennessee Unemployment page, click here: Tennessee 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.


# Erika Sellers 2011-11-10 13:32
I have been on LOA for my own medical condition for the past year. My doctor released me in September on part-time only (4 hours a day, 4 days a week) I recently asked my Dr. for more hours, and she let me go to 28 hours a week. I was called in to HR today, and She stated that I would have to go get my Dr. to approve me for Full-time again, or I would have to make the decision to leave. This would be a Voluntary Leave (I asked). If my Dr. does not release me, Do you think I will be eligible for unemployment benefits?
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# connie 2012-01-31 18:53
I QUIT MY JOB THE COMPANY RELOCATION. the commute would be 2 and half hrs round trip for me daily I am not able to make that long commute. Otherwise i would not leave the co. Can i apply for unemployment.
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# Stacy 2012-03-14 19:39
I turned in my two weeks notice due to not being properly trained after 1 year of asking for training. On my next to last day of work i find out that they are sending someone straight from coroporate to train the new person. Is there anyway i can draw unemployment
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# Seth 2012-03-30 07:31
I was forced into a resignation. If I chose not to resign I would have been suspended indefinitely. Since I chose a resignation, what are my chances of receiving unemployment benefits?
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# Winter 2012-04-05 13:06
I'm relocating to Detroit at the end of April because I'm getting married and I'm having a hard time finding jobs. Will I be able to get unemployment in the meantime until I can find another job?
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# Andrea 2012-04-11 17:35
I quit my job because I found me a new one due to the fact of them telling me upon hiring that could get more hours on some of the weeks but thats not what happened. Will be eligible
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# Dawn 2012-05-10 17:54
I was woking in a bar where they brought in a new manager who had no experience in bar management. They guy had it out for me from day one saying that it wasn't fair that i had all the "good days" and that he was going to give them to another worker. When I said it wasn't fair, he said I like drama. He later told customers and other employees that he had "got rid of all the lesbians in the bar". He cut the hours of only the lesbian employees. I quit. Am I eligable for unemployment??? Also when i went in to talk to the owner about what had happened he said that black people do the same thing i was doing all the time by saying "its because I'm black". Then he said he is sticking with his manager on this one.....
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# Jel 2012-09-12 16:54
I was on leave due to surgery during my leave I was asked to take a cut in pay. I knew the company was having trouble so I agreed to 2 paywages at regurlar pay and 2 at half wages. However this was not honored just before I returned to work I received 4 paychecks at half the wages. I know I can't quit to qualify for unemployment but how much abuse and mistreatment and belittlement do I have to put up with I know they won't fire me because the owner is real big on knowing the law. Please Advise!
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# renee 2012-09-13 18:52
my wife resigned from her postal job do to her medical condition,her dr. said she shouldnt be driving with the meds she is on..can she collect unemployment in tn?
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# Inda 2013-02-03 08:44
I was working on salary based on a forty hour week in the same town where I live. They moved me to another plant 25 miles from home and was working us 12 hours a day 7 days a week. I asked for a raise and was denied. I brought my concerns to the manager at least 3 times about all the hours everyone was working and that my pay was based on 40 hours a week. She sayed nothing was going to change so I quit What is the unemployment law on this in Tennressee.
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# Fishy Business 2013-02-20 13:30
I have a long story about where I am at now with my job. I was injred at work and out for a couple of months, came back on full duty, and performed my job to the best of my ability, excpt I was not provided with ample suppliesor equipment to properly do my job. My supervisors I made aware but they chose to do nothing about it. After less than 2 monts back at my job I got demoted with a significant pay decrease and I am at a loss here. I have done my job but I feel I am being harassed due to my injury and being singles out. Will this qualify me for drawing unemployment if choose to quit.
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# Kathie 2013-04-01 15:28
I've been asked to resign because a new administration is coming into the mayor's office and I hold an appointed position. Do I need some sort of termination letter in order to collect unemployment? What do I need?
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# Jane 2013-07-19 13:56
I had to quit my job due to depression and stress. Can I possibly draw unemployment until I find another job?
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# Leslie 2017-10-29 18:56
I have a harassing and bullying plant manager that has cause me to take depression and anxiety meds and I'm seeing a doctor for treatments. I've read of involuntary resignation due to health and I'm wondering if I do this will I be able to collect unemployment in Tennessee.
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