If I quit my job can I still get Texas unemployment?
The scenario is always the same; your employer tells you things are not working out and that it would be better if you resign instead of being terminated. “it will look better on your record”. So what should you do? As most employees know if you quit your job you are usually unable to get unemployment benefits; but this is not always the case. In fact, the Texas Workforce Commission specifically states that you if you are given the choice of being fired or resigning and you choose to quit your job; you are still entitled to unemployment as long as you meet all other requirements. I get asked this question all the time by employees in El Paso, Texas who are facing the prospect of getting fired.
What is my advice? First and foremost, it is important to know that resigning in lieu of termination does not automatically disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits. But you can’t always trust your employer to tell Texas Unemployment Commission that if you had not resigned you would have been terminated. So my advice is to make sure that you put something in writing stating that you have been given the choice of resigning instead of being terminated and that facing those two choice you choose to resign. Make sure you keep a copy of this written statement. An email to this effect to your employer blind copied to your own personal email is a great way to prove up the truth of your resignation.
But the question I always ask my client’s is why they are so concerned about having a termination on their record? Most client’s seem to believe that if they resign then their past employer won’t say anything bad about them. My experience is that only a very stupid employer says anything bad about a past employee. While there are no laws preventing a past employer providing a bad review; most smart employers will not provide such information (unless it is required by law for certain industries) because they open themselves up for a lawsuit. Also future employers always want an explanation why you quit a job without another job. This puts you in the position of having to explain the reason you left. I think the better practice if you are really concerned is to try and convince your employer to code you as “laid-off”. This will almost assure you of receiving unemployment (as long as meet all other requirements) and is an explanation that all future employers will understand.
But what happens if you truly want to resign because of how you are treated at work? That is a much more difficult situation; but this should not keep you from filing for unemployment. The Texas Workforce Commission recognizes that the concept of “constructive discharge” wherein the working conditions are such that your resignation is understandable. But I do have some advice to those considering quitting their jobs because of a hostile working condition. That is to document that you complained about the working condition and nothing was done to address the situation. This should always be done in a polite way and should be done in writing (by email bcc to your personal email). Also document to your employer your complaints. You are more likely to win your claim if the situation involves your schedule or pay, but can include anything that a reasonable employee would not put up with. I have found that many employers will actually brag that they have never paid an unemployment claim because they make the employees life so miserable that they quit. I find it is important that you document this to your employer before you resign. In other words you can send an email that basically states “I know you have said in the past that you never pay unemployment claims because you know how to “run-off” employees; but if this is what you are doing please just let me know so that I can move on to something else. Of course only write this if it absolutely the truth; but it is important that you document what is going on and give your employer the chance to resolve the problem. I usually find that when employees resign and file for unemployment they lose the initial determination; but that on appeal (telephone hearing) they have a much better chance to win. I have a video on youtube and my website on how to handle an unemployment appeal which you can find here: If you live in El Paso, Texas and you want to resign from your job because of a hostile work environment make sure that you follow these rules. There is never a guarantee that you will receive Texas Unemployment but you certainly have a better chance to obtain your benefits.