Labor and Employment

Can My Former Employer Keep Me From Getting Unemployment Benefits?

By Sachi Barreiro, Attorney, University of San Francisco School of Law

Your former employer can choose to contest your claim. The amount of unemployment tax that an employer pays depends, in part, on how many successful unemployment claims have been filed by former employees. To keep these costs low, employers may content claims that they believe are invalid. This most often comes up in reference to the way that the employee separated from the company. For example, your employer might argue that you were fired for misconduct or that you quit without good cause—which would make you ineligible for benefits.

The ultimate decision of whether you receive benefits, however, lies with your state unemployment agency. The agency will review your application and your employer’s response and may contact you both for additional information. Your application will either be approved or denied, depending on which story the agency found more credible. If your claim is denied, you will still have the opportunity to appeal. This process involves an informal hearing—held in person or by telephone—where you will have a chance to submit documents or have witnesses back up your story. (To learn more, see our article on how to appeal a denial of your unemployment claim.)

Go back to main Unemployment Compensation FAQ page

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