New Jersey regulations generally require that someone must be terminated from their job in order to get unemployment compensation. There are circumstances, though, that allow for someone who quit his job voluntarily to still receive that benefit. You can still be entitled to it if you left your job voluntarily with “good cause attributable to work.” Basically, this means that you had to have left work for a valid reason, because of the work environment or tasks.
The New Jersey Appellate Court recently looked at a case where an employee voluntarily left her job at a law firm. Her position was “legal secretary” when she resigned by email saying that she could not “do what [was] required of [her] at [the] job.” She claimed that she was under a lot of deadlines which required her to work faster and “rush around.” She also testified at an unemployment hearing that while she was working in the attic of the law office and using the copy machine under the stairs, she was always hitting her head and tripping over wires. She also pointed to the car wash next door having odors that affected her health. She also said that the work environment aggravated her preexisting injuries. The secretary believed that these factors all demonstrated that there was good cause for her leaving her job at the firm.
But the court disagreed. It found that she resigned without good cause because she did not reasonably discuss these issues with the firm. If she had brought them up and given her employer a chance to fix them, there may have been good cause if they did not. The employee also never provide evidence of her medical condition, or her claim that the environment “adversely affected” her health.
Getting unemployment compensation for quitting a job can be uphill battle, because you must prove that you had good cause. That includes complaining about the problem, preferably in writing. If you have questions about your specific situation, you should contact an attorney.
Angela Yu is a New Jersey and New York attorney with a multifaceted practice area focusing in corporate, real estate and general contract law. She uses her interest in real life application of the law to author articles and other scholarship on a broad range of cutting-edge legal and business topics. Ms. Yu is a published legal author and holds a J.D. and M.B.A. from Rutgers School of Law and Rutgers Business School. Neither she nor Mike Farhi provides legal advice on this website. This blog post and any blog posts do not constitute legal advice.