Can I get Iowa unemployment benefits if I quit my job?
Generally speaking, you cannot collect unemployment benefits if you quit your job, however, there are some exceptions. If you quit your job because your employer made major changes to your job, you may be eligible for benefits. These changes may include:
- the hours or shifts you work
- your income
- the location of your work
- the type of work you do
You may also have a case if you quit because your job becomes unsafe. Poor working conditions, including illegal, harmful or intolerable conditions, can be good reasons to quit and may result in collection of unemployment benefits.
I Quit!…You’re Fired!
Sometimes it is not clear whether you quit your job or you were fired. If you have a confrontation with your employer, you should clearly state that you are not quitting your job and will not leave unless the employer is firing or suspending you, either of which should be put in writing. If there is any confusion, your employer may try to stop you from getting unemployment benefits by saying you quit, even though you were fired.
Will I get unemployment benefits if I am fired?
Possibly. You will likely qualify for benefits unless the employer shows that you were fired for “misconduct.” If you are being denied unemployment insurance because you were fired for misconduct a judge will look at several factors to make a determination such as:
Have you been disciplined by this employer before? Was is for a different or similar infraction? Did you know that your job was in jeopardy or that you could be terminated if more problems occurred? When looking over your employment history, a single act of insubordination or one policy violation alone is typically not enough to establish misconduct, but a string of disciplinary problems might.
Did your conduct cause harm to the employer? If you violated a work rule, but it resulted in no perceptible harm or injury to the employer, it is less likely to result in a finding of misconduct.
Did you intentionally disregard the employer’s interests? Should you, as a reasonable person, have known that your behavior violated an employment standard?
Are there any mitigating circumstances to explain your behavior? Perhaps you missed work and failed to call in because you or your immediate family member was incapacitated by an illness or injury. If the alleged misconduct involved an altercation at work, perhaps you acted in self-defense. Under some circumstances, employees avoid a finding of misconduct even if they clearly violated the written rules of the employer because of mitigating circumstances such as these.
Is the quality of the evidence against you sound? Often employers present hearsay evidence which may not hold up to a finding of misconduct.
Is your version of events credible? The burden of proof is on the employer, but your testimony at a hearing can speak volumes when trying to determine if misconduct was an issue.
Was the employee aware of the rules and are they reasonable? Typically an employer has an employee sign and acknowledgement form indicating they understand the rules, but the employer still has the burden to establish that its rules are reasonable and applied evenhandedly against all employees.
If you were fired, it may point to wrongful termination on the basis of discrimination, retaliation or other illegal actions on the part of the employer. It is important to follow up with an employment law attorney if you suspect your termination was not justified.
Davenport Wrongful Termination Attorney
Decades of Experience with Iowa Employment Law
If you have an Iowa employment law issue, contact the Davenport Law Offices of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC for assistance. Our experienced team of employment law attorneys can help you with all employment law related issues including retaliation and wrongful termination. Contact us at 563-355-6478.