Can I be denied unemployment due to a forced resignation?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I be denied unemployment due to a forced resignation?

Last week my employer informed me that she thought I was a poor fit for the company and, since they are replacing the other member of the management team, she thought it would be best to rebuild the team from scratch and for me to exit at the end of this week. She said that if I left this week, I would receive 2 weeks severance and a promise that they would not fight an unemployment claim, however if I did not accept this exit plan, neither of those things would be on the table. She also told me that I was expected to not tell anyone of my leaving to allow them to make the announcement of my departure. Now I am supposed to leave the job after tomorrow and do my exit interview but the announcement still has not been made about my departure. None of my co-workers or clients know and I have not told them because I was instructed not to. I am concerned that this is being set up to look as though I bailed on my job, so I would not be eligible for unemployment. Should I be concerned?

Asked on November 22, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is, legally, no such as a "forced" resignation, unless you mean they are threatening you with violence or something else inherently illegal. Otherwise, resignations are viewed as voluntary: the circumstances may be bad for you, and you may be making the best of bad choices at a tought time, but you are still *choosing* to resign rather than be terminated, laid off, or fired. Therefore, if you do resign, it is a voluntary separation from employment and you will be ineligible for unemployment benefits.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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