If I quit due to intolerable working conditions, can I collect unemployment?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If I quit due to intolerable working conditions, can I collect unemployment?

I found my new manager trying to replace me without good cause (I’m a high performer, not a single bad review in 5 years). Verbally stated that she doesn’t want to work with me. HR got involved and to cover themselves, they decided to give me a “bad review” after this was already done and requested “improvement”. During this time, my hours have increased (I’m working nights and weekends) with no overtime pay. My workload has doubled and the new tasks were not stated in my job description. I confronted my manger again saying that it’s affecting my mental health and had to drop my classes; I simply can’t work this much. She told me if I want to continue my position, I have to do whatever she says or to quit. So I quit. Can I file unemployment?

Asked on October 22, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't collect unemployment due to "intolerable" conditions. Quite simply, an employer is allowed to make conditions intolerable: to require excessive hours (*any* number of hours per day or week), to make it clear that an employee is not wanted (regardless of his or her previous performance), to not support or even coorperate with employees, etc. All of that is legal, and conversely, there is no legal right to decent or respectful or reasonable working conditions. If you leave because work is awful, that is to voluntarily leave work; and voluntarily terminating employment makes you ineligible for unemployment compensation.

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