Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Massachusetts After Voluntary Resignation
Can I Collect Unemployment After Quitting My Job?
The prospect of quitting your job can be daunting, and it often raises questions about your financial stability. One common query that arises is whether you can collect unemployment benefits after voluntarily resigning from your job. In this guide, we will explore the factors that determine your eligibility for unemployment benefits following a voluntary resignation.
Understanding Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits are designed to provide financial support to individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Generally, these benefits are available to those who have been laid off or terminated by their employers. This means that the general rule is also that benefits are not available to people who leave their jobs voluntarily.
Good Cause for Resignation in Massachusetts
Under Massachusetts law, you may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits if you're compelled to resign due to compelling or urgent reasons attributable to your employer. Valid reasons for resignation include pervasive workplace harassment, other unlawful or intolerable conduct, or health reasons for you or your family that your employer cannot or will not accommodate.
Resignation Due to Hostile Work Environment or Harassment
The state's unemployment statute explicitly addresses resignations caused by sexual, racial, or other unreasonable harassment. To qualify for this exception, you must demonstrate that your employer, including supervisors or other agents, knew about or should have known about the harassment.
If the harassment is sexual or racial and your employer was aware of it, you don't need to take further steps for your resignation to be considered involuntary. However, reporting the harassment to your employer is advisable, as it underscores their awareness.
For harassment that isn't legally actionable (e.g., workplace bullying), you must notify your employer and can collect unemployment if they fail to take appropriate remedial action, leading to your resignation.
Resignation in Lieu of Termination
Regardless of its formal name, a separation imposed by the employer is not considered a resignation for unemployment purposes. This means that if you're given the choice between resigning and being fired, it's still an involuntary separation, even if you technically resign.
This also holds if you had a reasonable belief that termination was imminent when you resigned. For example, in cases where the employer offers a choice between a layoff with severance and remaining at work, "accepting" the layoff doesn't make your separation voluntary for unemployment purposes, as it was the employer's decision, not yours, to reduce staff.
Resignation for Family or Medical Reasons
Leaving your job for "urgent, compelling, and necessitous circumstances" related to family or medical reasons can make you eligible for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts. However, there are key considerations:
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How Our Employment Lawyers Can Help
Our experienced Massachusetts employment attorneys are here to provide expert guidance on navigating unemployment benefits after quitting your job. We can assess your situation, help you understand 'good cause' criteria, and ensure your rights are protected. 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.