Unemployment Voluntary Quit

Project Description

Unemployment lawyers will tell you that the Pennsylvania Unemployment Department regularly denies people who are considered to have voluntary quit their job. While they are difficult cases, there are many reasons that people who have left their job still should receive benefits. It is important to note that if you are still employed and want to quit and receive unemployment benefits, it is imperative that you consult us immediately.

Either way, these cases often turn on your “compelling reason” as well as a few important words and actions. We want to make sure that you recover benefits and at your hearing that you emphasize that compelling reason and those right words and actions.

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But if you are like most people, you most likely quit your job and now are facing an unemployment hearing. With a top notch unemployment lawyer you will have a good chance to win your unemployment compensation appeal hearing.

People quit their jobs for various reasons and still receive unemployment benefits

It is important to understand that at your unemployment compensation appeal hearing, you have the burden of proving why you quit. The Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law at 43 P.S. §802(b) provides that an employee shall be ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits for any week “in which his unemployment is due to voluntarily leaving work without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature….” Once it is determined that an employee voluntarily terminated employment, the employee bears the burden of proving a necessitous and compelling reason for quitting.

Was your necessitous and compelling reasons for the quit because:

  • QuitHostile work environment?
  • Unlawful activity?
  • “Resign or you are fired?”
  • Threats?
  • Illness?
  • Family emergency?
  • Child care?
  • Spouse moved?
  • Medical condition made worse by working?
  • Relocation of office?
  • Unsafe working conditions.
  • Lower pay?
  • Any compelling reason?

The law does recognize that there are times when employees may feel that they have no choice but to quit. Unemployment benefits may be paid for a quit due to personal safety issues between a worker and a former spouse, or other personal relationships. Also, a significant change in circumstances which causes a quit may not prevent the payment of your unemployment benefits.You can win your unemployment appeal hearing when you prove the following:

  1. You must have a “necessitous and compelling reason” to quit.
  2. You must have acted with ordinary common sense in quitting.
  3. You must have given a reasonable effort to preserve your job.
  4. You must have informed your employer of the “necessitous and compelling reason” that was causing you to quit. Once you informed your employer of the problem, the burden shifts to your employer to offer a suitable accommodation.
  5. You must show no suitable accommodation.

If no suitable accommodation was made, and you quit as a result, you had a “necessitous and compelling reason” for quitting and will likely receive your unemployment benefits.

It is important to understand that unemployment quit cases are not easy. You face a heavy burden in proving why you quit. A skilled unemployment lawyer can help lessen that burden. An unemployment lawyer will present you with the strongest case to ensure that you are entitled to unemployment benefits.

There are any number of scenarios in which the application of the “necessitous and compelling” rule can be tricky when determining whether a former employee is entitled to unemployment benefits. If entitlement to unemployment compensation benefits becomes an issue for you, do not assume the question is an easy one. Here are two small examples of the complexity of these matters:


In order for harassment to rise to the level of a necessitous and compelling reason to voluntarily quit a job, the employer’s conduct, or co-worker conduct known by and tolerated by the employer, must be so clearly beyond the scope of either management prerogative or tolerable behavior that it would cause mental stress or distress to a person of reasonable sensibilities. It is not enough that the claimant himself was subjectively offended. The question, in lay terms, is whether the conduct was so outrageous as to cause a person of ordinary sensitivity unbearable work-related stress.

Health Conditions

While the employer must be at fault in bringing about an employee’s work-related mental stress before the employee can use that stress as a basis for collecting unemployment compensation, there is no such limitation on entitlement to benefits for an employee unable to work a particular job due to a medical condition. Medical problems can provide a necessitous and compelling reason to quit a job where some condition peculiar to the particular workplace causes or exacerbates the employee’s health problems, even when there is nothing the employer could reasonably change in the work environment to help alleviate the medical condition. When, for example, an employee can no longer function in a particular workplace because of an allergic reaction after prolonged exposure to a chemical in the work environment, the employee may be able to collect unemployment compensation after quitting the job, even if most employees have no negative reaction to the chemical and even if there is nothing the employer could reasonably do to eliminate the chemical from the workplace.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com

Specific Unemployment Issues

What type of legal help do you need? If you are not sure, call us at 412-626-5626

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