If I quit or get fired, am I eligible for unemployment compensation?
If you are fired for any reason other than willful misconduct, you are usually entitled to receive unemployment compensation. If you are fired for willful misconduct, however, you are not entitled to any unemployment compensation. In this context, “willful misconduct” refers to breaking a clear company disciplinary rule. Examples of willful misconduct include chronic absenteeism or tardiness, failing to follow an employer’s instructions, failing to meet normal standards of behavior, or deliberately violating company rules. Even if you were fired for willful misconduct, you must still have earned a certain amount of money and worked a certain amount of weeks (established by the state) to become eligible for unemployment, and you must register with the state unemployment office and be be able to work and actively seeking work.
The exception to this rule (that a fired employee is entitled to unemployment if they were not fired for willful misconduct) is where the employee is: (i) an independent contractor; (ii) a voluntary retiree; or (iii) in some cases, a teacher with a reasonable chance to be employed within the next year.