Can I quit my job because I don’t like a coworker and still get unemployment?
In most cases, personality conflicts will not be found to be a compelling enough reason to quit. The standard in Pennsylvania for justifying a quit is that a claimant (the person applying for benefits) must have had a necessitous and compelling reason to quit. The burden is on the claimant to prove that his or her stated reason was necessitous and compelling. In many cases where the employee quit because he/she did not get along with another person at work the claimant will be found ineligible for benefits, however they may be eligible if the conflict was intolerable.
It is important to try to resolve the problem or at least notify a supervisor prior to quitting. If the employer does not have notice of the problem, it cannot attempt to resolve it. A key part of winning unemployment benefits if you quit is showing that you acted in good faith and like a reasonable person in the same situation would act. Not letting your employer know that there is a problem is considered bad faith. The only time this is not the case is when a supervisor witnesses the conduct, but it is better to let someone know to be on the safe side. If your employer does something to fix the problem, you needs to work long enough to find out if your employer’s actions have worked.
If your conflict is with a coworker, it probably isn’t a good enough reason to quit if the two of you just don’t get along. However, if he or she uses profanity at you, or generally abusive language, you could be eligible for benefits. Other times that you can receive benefits is if you quit because of sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination. A threat of physical violence is usually sufficient to show good cause for quitting.
It’s harder to prove that you had a good reason to quit if the conflict is with your boss or supervisor. If they are just making remarks about the quality of your work, that will not be considered good cause. Even if it feels like they are constantly nitpicking you about things, it’s really hard to prove your case. One way to do that would be to show that you were treated differently than other coworkers, especially if that quality of your work was the same or better than theirs. Another way would be if your supervisor says derogatory or discriminatory things to you.
Regardless of who is treating you poorly, you may want to talk to an unemployment lawyer before you decide to quit. He or she can help you determine how likely you are to receive benefits, or can negotiate for a severance or settlement agreement on your behalf.