If you lose your job, you may be able to recover unemployment benefits to help you to meet your basic needs until you are able to find a new job. Whether you might be able to receive unemployment benefits will depend on the manner in which you were separated from your position. In some circumstances, you might be able to recover unemployment benefits if you were fired. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand whether you might be able to receive unemployment benefits after being terminated from your job.
Most people work at will, which means that either they or their employers can end the employment whenever they want. In some cases, employees who were fired because of cutbacks at their companies or because they didn’t have the right skills might be able to receive unemployment benefits. However, employees who decide to quit their jobs are not likely to be able to receive unemployment benefits unless some specific extenuating circumstances apply.
Termination for cause
If you were fired for misconduct you might not be able to receive unemployment benefits. Misconduct that can disqualify you for unemployment benefits includes the following:
- Failing a drug or alcohol test
- Intentionally violating company rules or policies
- Sexual harassment
- Falsifying records
- Other serious actions
Some conduct in which you might engage when you are away from work might also be considered to be misconduct that makes you ineligible for unemployment benefits. These types of actions might include committing crimes or posting problematic posts on social media, for example.
In New Jersey, people who are fired for misconduct might be able to recover unemployment benefits, depending on the severity of the misconduct. The state divides misconduct into three categories, including simple, severe, and gross misconduct. People who are fired for simple misconduct may not receive unemployment benefits for the week in which they are fired and for seven additional weeks. Those who are fired for severe misconduct may not be eligible for benefits until when they are reemployed and have worked for at least four weeks at a job at which they earn a minimum of six times their unemployment compensation benefits amount. Finally, people who are terminated for gross misconduct are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits no matter how much time has passed.
What to do after you have been fired
If you have been terminated, it is important for you to determine what your rights are. You may be offered a severance package, and you might also want to investigate other programs for which you might qualify while you are searching for a new job.
You should gather any documentation that you can about how you were terminated. If you believe that you might be fired, it is a good idea to collect your employment records before the termination happens. Documentation that you might want to collect includes such things as emails, text messages, telephone messages, performance reviews, doctors’ notes, attendance records, and other relevant documents.
If you have already been terminated and are unsure whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits, you can check with the unemployment office. The agency can verify why you were fired and whether you have met the requirements for the duration of your employment and your earnings.
How unemployment works
Employers pay taxes to fund the unemployment insurance program. Benefits are paid from the fund that has been established by the state. The state has the power to decide who can receive benefits, how long they can receive them, and how much they will receive.
If you meet the qualifications and are able to recover benefits, there will be conditions that you must meet. You will need to actively search for employment and be willing, able, and ready to work. If you do not accept a suitable job, your benefits can be terminated.
If your application for unemployment benefits is denied, you can appeal the decision. You will need to have the supporting documentation available so that you might have a better chance of success. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler may be able to represent you through the appeals process and might work to help you to recover the benefits that you should receive. To learn more about your rights, contact Swartz Swidler today.