Unemployment in Massachusetts
Understanding Your Legal Rights After Termination
If you've recently experienced a job termination, you may have more than just questions about unemployment benefits. It's essential to understand your legal rights and potential legal claims that may arise from your termination. Before you dive into the information about unemployment benefits below, we wanted to provide some quick links that may give you insight into these questions.
Unlocking Unemployment Benefits in Massachusetts
Are you unsure about your eligibility for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts? Whether you've been laid off, fired, or are considering quitting your job, you may have questions about the unemployment process.
At slnlaw, we provide valuable insights into the world of unemployment benefits. We've helped countless individuals like you navigate the complexities of the system, ensuring they receive the support they need during these tough times.
We also look at the employment termination itself, to help you identify any potential legal claims you might have arising from your employment or termination.
The information on this page is about traditional unemployment. The pandemic unemployment program, which was in effect from March, 2020 until September 4, 2021, is addressed separately, as is the process for responding to an overpayment notice and specific problems and issues relating to self-employed workers and unemployment.
Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits
In Massachusetts, most workers can qualify for unemployment benefits if they meet certain criteria:
Collecting Unemployment After Being Fired For Cause
Usually you can still collect even if you were fired for "cause." The only exception is if you were fired for deliberate misconduct. Deliberate misconduct can be one of two things. First, intentional behavior against the employer's interest. Second, you can be disqualified if you were fired for a violation of a clear and uniformly enforced policy. Examples include simply not showing up for work without a reason, violating a clear safety policy, falsifying time records, or stealing from the company.
You will generally still receive benefits if you were fired other reasons. For example, poor performance, employee negligence, or absence or tardiness for legitimate reasons do not disqualify you from benefits.
Collecting Unemployment While Receiving Severance Pay
If you've signed a severance agreement with a release of claims, you can still collect unemployment benefits. Severance pay does not count against your eligibility. In cases where your claim is initially denied, you can request an appeal hearing to resolve the issue.
Accepting Resignation Offers and Unemployment
Opting for resignation instead of termination may delay your unemployment benefits. The Department of Unemployment Assistance may initially deny your application when they see "resignation." You can request an appeal hearing to clarify that the resignation was a result of imminent termination. While calling it a resignation may seem appealing, remember that future employers won't have access to your personnel file.
Need Help With an Unemployment Decision?
Independent Contractors and Unemployment
Proper classification is crucial. Independent contractors, as per Massachusetts law, are generally not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits (except during specific periods like the pandemic). However, many individuals classified as 1099 workers should technically be W2 employees. If your work involved significant supervision and control and you weren't offering similar services to others, you may not be a true independent contractor. You can still apply for unemployment and contest any employer claims of ineligibility.
When to apply for unemployment
Don't delay your application for unemployment benefits. Even if you have lingering questions about your termination, apply as soon as you can. If your benefits are approved later, you'll receive back pay from the date of your application.
Wondering About Unemployment or Your Termination?
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How Our Employment Lawyers Can Help
If you have questions about your eligibility for unemployment, need representation in an appeal or even have questions about the situation that caused your unemployment, we can help. You can use the button below to schedule a call back from a member of our team, or give us a call at 781-784-2322.