Resigned Due to Hostile Work Environment? Unemployment Insurance Eligibility

Out of all the possible reasons for separation from the job, one of the most commonly given reasons is resignation due to coercive or intimidating work environment. The hostility may be perpetrated by a colleague,a supervisor or a group of co workers. The provocation may even be by the company as a whole, represented by their hostile policies.

In many cases, the victim of atrocities has no choice but to quit the job, making them ineligible to claim unemployment benefits. For most of you reading this article, you will be aware of the weekly Unemployment Compensation paid out for jobless workers, who’ve lost their job due to no fault of their own. The claimant receives up to 26 weeks of monetary benefits to help them meet basic expenses in life. In case of resignation due to hostile work environment, one may assume that he/she is will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Some happy news for readers who’ve resigned under pressure, you can be eligible to receive the dole, in most cases.


Qualifying for unemployment benefits in such cases depends on the nature and extent of hostility. Some of the circumstances that are commonly accepted are as follows.

  • A criminal activity at workplace that you brought to the attention of your employer.
  • Hostile environment due to harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, age or disability.
  • Issues or conditions that pose a risk to personal and health to self or other workers.
  • Retaliation by a coworker or supervisor for bringing to notice, health/safety issues.

Having mentioned the above, a difficult boss or colleagues not getting well along with you and similar issues may not be considered as hostile work environment.  The bottom line is that there are no legal provisions which say the employer must keep the employee happy and therefore, the employer is not obligated to ensure all round work satisfaction. Similarly, the employee has no legal representation of a pleasant workplace.

Minor disagreements, difference of opinions with supervisors or team members is not considered as hostile work environment. Therefore, instead of resigning on the basis of such trivial issues, it’s recommended to sort these issues internally and iron out differences.  It you decide to quit and claim unemployment insurance while you look for a job, you may not qualify.

Eligibility Determination

If you were separated from your job under such circumstances, the labour authorities will conduct a detailed probe into reasons for your exit, when you apply for Unemployment Insurance.  Based on your inputs at the time of application and the results of their investigation, the representatives will decide if your stance is genuine. Accordingly they will approve/reject the claim.

How Can I Fight It out as My Case is Genuine?

It may not be an easy fight for you. If you’re truthful and strongly believe that there is no shortcoming at your end, please brace yourself for a pitched battle ahead.  Remember, you can only win if you present the facts well. Here are a few points on you should bear in mind during such cases.

1) Document it: Keep a journal, record conversations by means of recording device, keep backup of email conversations that are hostile in nature etc. You are the better judge. Whatever you feel needs to be documented, do so and store them securely.

2) Talk to A Colleague/Superior:  No matter how grave the hostility is, you will have a few colleagues, who you can trust at workplace. Talk to them and tell them about your problem in depth.  Seek remedies or probe further to check if they know someone who can help you sort internally.

3) Record and Track Complaints:  Follow the complaints mechanism laid down by the relevant HR policy in your organisation. Make a complaint and keep copies for future reference. Take print outs or forward responses to personal e mail which can be useful if there is a dispute.

4) Do not Quit Immediately: Unless you’re in absolute danger, do not resign immediately. If you’re seeking Unemployment benefits, stay back until you collect sufficient evidence to prove if there is a dispute.


More than anything else, it’s paramount to ensure your safety at workplace, especially if the hostility can cause physical harm. Raise an alarm and keep your friends and family in loop about key events at work. If need be, lodge a complaint with local law enforcement agencies like the police if you see any threat to your life.

Even if you decide to quit due to unbearable circumstances otherwise, it is not the end of life. There are thousands of opportunities out there. You just need to work smart to be able to find the right job opportunity. Do not hesitate to apply for Unemployment Insurance even if you’re unsure.  There is no harm in applying.

15 Responses to “Resigned Due to Hostile Work Environment? Unemployment Insurance Eligibility”

  • Anna Johnson says:

    Interested in reapplying due to “claim denied.” I HONESTLY resigned under pressure. My taking time off due to husbands chronic illness and granddaughter sickness (who I had temporary custody of), (her mother active military duty), required much more time off within the last year of being employed with Clerk’s office. Threatening words were used which forced me to resign. I resigned because I didn’t want a job termination in my personnel file, due to maintaining good work ethics. Unfortunately my claim was denied, which I would like to be reconsidered due to my health condition that comes with limitations.

    • Nick says:

      Well, resigning due to personal reasons may not qualify. If you were asked to leave under threatening conditions, please speak to the labor authorities in your state and file accordingly.

  • Alex Deshner says:

    Looks like the state is on your side when you are stressed out and don’t want to work because every dey continuously threaten to fire you when you speak out. Wow deny a claim because you couldn’t stand the every day stress of wondering if your going to have a job or not. what a way to stand behind employees of Florida

    • Nick says:

      Well, I can understand your frustration. If you think you were denied wrongfully, please consider filing an ‘Appeal’ or ask for an adjudicator for a second opinion.

      Details of the Adjudication Process can be found on the official website of the Unemployment Office in your state.

  • justise says:

    so- what if the owner of the company and his leaders are doing drugs, it is on their desk, they talk about it, and are abusive to employees, and then deny it? What if they demand you work in unsafe conditions, and then when OSHA comes around hides all the drugs and infractions?

    • Jacob says:

      You can quit under “hostile” work conditions and claim UI benefits until you find another job. Make sure to keep supporting documents and evidence handy in case of a dispute.

  • Amanda Mahfuz says:

    I was being mentally and verbally abused for 4 +years I was drowning in depression even had to be antidepressants, I had no clue work was my main trigger. I allowed my boss to pile my workload into what 3 people would do. He disrespected me with “my enough” wasn’t ever enough or fast enough snap fingers at us. He would tell you and anyone to your face you will never be fast enough or how he wantsnit. Demanding us to follow him like lost sad pets. Waiting to hear his next beck and call. He would expect anyone to stop what they are do to get whatever he needs because hes most important. He would expect me to be done with my first assignment because he said so. Not allowing me to complete any first task the proper way or to just do it right. I was forced to always rush and hurry never letting me to do the best of my ability due to his attention into another task was needed. I was a graphic designer/installer office manager and bookkeeper. He would belittle me for keeping up with my own children’s doctor’s appointments. I would never ask for days off or even vacation for that matter. Didn’t take random days off. No bonuses or overtime. No medical insurance or paid holidays. I would be put down due to being a single parent having two kids and no babysitter. I would seek to attend my place of work always before or after such appountments. I have neglected my own health due to worrying about if he would be upset with me he made mefeel like a total failure and like I truly was doing wrong. I seen those around me were treated much nicer than I. I seeked that. So I would sit like those other employees and play on my cellphone. And waited to be told what to do like everyone else does that was talked to nicely. Or I would keep to myself and not say one word to a single soul for a week straight but if it was visible for work to be done I did do it. I did pick up. I did cash out customer when asked of me. If someone asked me to do anything i was willing and got it done. My proactive attitude lead me to a abusive position in my eyes. I allowed someone to break me down. I stopped trying to complete my work load and catch ahead. I was tired of being organized when he didn’t care if it organized. I was done trying to help a business and family walk around me like I was the issue. Not one person helped this company strive or become better in any ways. I out the effort to help them. I was hired as a graphic installer. He would run it in our face that I better do things right because he has to pay for families to eat. But, he doesn’t even know what to send a customer to receive payment from them. I just want to be respected.

    • Jacob says:


      I can perhaps try to understand the ordeal and trauma you’re going through. Please be aware you can be eligible to quit and claim UI benefits under hostile working conditions. Please speak to the Unemployment Office for more.

  • Apeeps says:

    I currently left my job of 6 years due to a high stress and also having a employee threaten to beat my ass by calling the job continusly I told management and nothing was done. I ebded up leaving in February 2020 can I file for unemployment im currently at another job in which I started at like almost 2 weeks ago

    • Jacob says:

      You can be eligible to claim UI benefits for hostile working conditions. Please consider applying and keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute.

  • victor d holtz says:

    I was laid off because of the Corona virus at the Holiday Inn kitchen. I’ve been on unemployment before and even though we can’t job search , so there’s nothing to submit weekly ( after we’ve registered ) is there anything that have to do to receive the monies to pay our bills ? Is there anything we have to do to continue our checks after the first one comes ? And once our registration reads ” Active ” Is there anything else we have to do , or are we fine ?

  • Ranessa Lane says:

    Good morning my name is ranessa I’ve been trying for the last 3 weeks to get on to apply for benefits for unemployment and have been unsuccessful

  • miller says:

    Please let us know the exact nature of the issue

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