Get Fired and Still Qualify for Unemployment
28 December 2009
There is nothing worse then feeling stuck in a sucky job that drives you crazy; except of course, quitting the horrible job and ending up with nothing for your pain and efforts. What can you do to make sure that you don’t get the short end of the sucky job stick? Don’t quit, get fired. Or, better yet, get laid off.
Of course there will be people, like your mother, who will insist that it is better to a) stick it out even if it is slowly crushing your soul like an ant beneath a boot heel or b) quit, so you don’t have a black mark on your record.
However, if you quit, you won’t be eligible for unemployment, especially not now with so many people who actually need help. In fact, in an economy like this one, you should be extremely unhappy and unable to take your current job for one more second before you even think about quitting or getting fired. Quitting any job right now will no doubt have family and friends calling you a selfish idiot, and they might not be wrong.
If you can get laid off then you can definitely receive unemployment benefits. If you get fired for misconduct or disciplinary measures then your unemployment might be denied. However, no matter what you get fired for, you should still try filing for unemployment.
Getting fired without cause
This means that there was no reason for you to be fired. That there is no company written rule for the reason you were fired and that you didn’t receive adequate written warnings. However, this often doesn’t apply for at-will employees.
An at-will employee can be fired at any time, for any reason (except discrimination or a hostile work environment). If the employer decides to let you go, that’s it. Every state, except Montana, employers may adopt an at-will employment policy.
Things you can get fired for and definitely receive unemployment
1. You were fired for being unable to perform the job. If you were not a good fit for the job, and your previous employer is willing to state that, then you can get unemployment insurance.
2. You can prove that it was a hostile work environment. You cannot be fired for complaining about being harassed or discriminated against. You can’t be fired for reporting or complaining about illegal activity or about health and safety violations. You cannot be fired for taking family and medical leave, taking leave to serve in the military, or to taking time off work to vote or serve on a jury. If you are fired for one of these reasons you should contact a lawyer.
3. You can prove you were discriminated against. You can’t be fired because of your race, religion or gender. If you feel that you were discriminated against, call a lawyer.
Ways to subtly be “let go”
The idea here is to make your workplace more uncomfortable when you’re there without alerting your employer that you are doing it on purpose.
- You can be subtly and sarcastically mean or cranky.
- Pretend that you don’t know how to do something. This works especially well if you are asked to do something new.
- Do just enough to scrape by.
- Work very, very slowly.
- Spend time forwarding “funny” emails.
- Treat work as your personal social club.
- Be constantly upset, angry, or depressed; anything but happy
- Have a lot of ongoing personal problems.
Things to watch out for
- Talk about religion, disabilities or anything else that would make someone afraid to fire you because of the possibility of a law suit.
- Consistently show up late and leave early.
- Search porn at work, or other potentially “blocked” websites.
Again, it’s a good idea to keep your job, no matter how much you dislike it, during times of high unemployment.
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