Should you apply for unemployment benefits if you were forced to resign? The short answer is yes, but you should be prepared to appeal if (and when) your application is denied. For more information on unemployment appeals, see my earlier blog post on the subject. Here is a link to the article: http://www.balandlaw.com/3/category/unemployment/1.html
The so-called "choice" to resign or be fired is really not much of a choice. I bet that most workers would prefer not to have a termination on their employment record, and who can blame them? However, this preference may make you ineligible for unemployment benefits.
The general rule is that you are eligible for unemployment benefits if you were discharged, unless you were discharged for employment misconduct, which is a violation of the standards of behavior that an employer has the right to reasonably expect. Minn. Stat. 268.095, subd. 4. However, if you quit employment, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits unless you had good reason to quit caused by the employer. Minn. Stat. 268.095, subd. 1.
Minn. Stat. 268.095, subd. 3 defines a "good reason to quit caused by the employer" as a reason: "(1) that is directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible; (2) that is adverse to the worker; and (3) that would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment." However, a "good reason to quit caused by the employer" does not exist if the reasons for the quit were caused by the employee's own employment misconduct. Id.
The question is whether being forced to resign is a "good reason to quit caused by the employer." The answer is that it depends. The question of whether a termination is voluntary or involuntary is determined “not by the immediate cause or motive for the act but by whether the employee directly or indirectly exercised a free-will choice and control as to the performance or non-performance of the act.” Anson v. Fisher Amusement Corp., 254 Minn. 93, 98, 93 N.W.2d 815, 819 (1958); Wing-Piu Chan v. Pagoda, Inc., 342 N.W.2d 174, 175 (Minn.Ct.App.1984)
In other words, if you freely and voluntarily quit your job, UIMN is unlikely to determine that you had "a good reason to quit caused by the employer." In determining whether a quit was voluntary, UIMN will look at the circumstances in which you quit. If you were forced to resign because you committed employment misconduct by violating a standard of behavior that your employer had the right to reasonably expect, then you probably did not have a "good reason to quit because
"[w]hen an employee, in the face of allegations of misconduct, chooses to leave his employment rather than exercise his right to have the allegations determined, such action supports a finding that the employee voluntarily left his job without good cause."
Ramirez v. Metro Waste Control Comm'n, 340 N.W.2d 355 (Minn.Ct.App.1983),
On the other hand, if you were forced to resign for reasons other than employment misconduct, then you may have a "good reason to quit." The answer -- and outcome -- really depend on the facts of the situation.
Your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to see if you have a "good reason to quit caused by the employer." To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals. Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.
WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation. Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota. As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions. Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog. To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.