Can an Employee Receive Unemployment Compensation if He or She Voluntarily Quits?

In general, no. However, there is an exception to this general rule if the employee quit for “good cause.”

Good cause is limited to the following reasons:

• The employee took another job;
• The employee became sick or disabled, or a member of his or her family became sick, disabled, or died, AND it was necessary for the employee to quit as a result;
• The employee quit so he or she could move with a spouse whose job is outside the employee’s labor market area;
• The employee quit to protect him or herself of immediate family members from domestic violence or stalking;
• The employee’s usual pay or hours of work were decreased by 25% or more;
• The employer changed the job location so the employee’s commute is longer or harder than it was previously;
• The employee reported a safety problem to the employer and the employer did not quickly fix the problem;
• The employee reported an illegal activity to the employer and the employer did not quickly stop the activity;
• The employer changed the employee’s usual work and it now goes against the employee’s religious or moral beliefs;
• The employee entered an approved apprenticeship training;
• The employee started approved training under the Trade Act;
• The employee worked a full-time and part-time job at the same time, quit the part-time job and was then laid off from the full-time job.

Nicole M. Bolan, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.

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