Can I quit and get unemployment benefits?

My project manager and I have not been getting along for months. He recently announced that the entire company believes I am gay. This is absolutely none of his business, and a statement I believe was designed to undermine my self confidence and my relationship with my co-workers. I have complained, but management is responding slowly/minimally. I would like to quit. Do I have any chance of collecting unemployment? My work place is now highly unpleasant/toxic.

Posted  11-08-2012

Steve Duggan replies:

You’re absolutely right that this is none of his business, and also certainly no one else’s business. You are protected against sexual orientation discrimination or harassment in your state, and also have a constitutional right to privacy. However, no one should quit a job, hoping to collect unemployment. If one quits, his initial application will likely be denied, and he will have to appeal and convince an administrative law judge that he had good cause to quit. You might win, but you might not, and it will be months before you know. You are better off remaining employed, continuing to complain either internally, including by escalating to a higher level of management, or go outside to the EEOC or DFEH and having them investigate the matter. Consider consulting with a local employment attorney for further guidance. Good luck!


Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Steve Duggan graduated from the Law School at the University of Notre Dame while on active duty in the Air Force. He has extensive experience representing management litigating cases of wrongful termination, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment. Steve also has experience in all phases of administrative litigation of unfair labor practice charges, and class and individual complaints of employment discrimination. He has been an instructor of seminars for supervisors and managers on labor management relations and other personnel issues, and for lawyers in basic and advanced trial advocacy courses. Steve came on board with Fair Measures in 1998.