Can I collect unemployment if I requested time off and they’re saying they won’t grant it now a month before I’m leaving?

They want me to sign a resignation letter but I told them because of the nature that they are letting me go I would like to see if I have any options first. The only reason this is a problem is becasue they are shorthanded all of the sudden due to multiple people leaving and at the time I requested this I was told my 7 weeks was not a problem. I would just like to know if there is anything I can/should do to obtain unemployment pay.

Asked on June 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Employers have discretion in regards to allowing employees to take vacation, and so may validly prevent an employee from taking vacation if they are shorthanded. Since they are allowed to prevent you from taking vacation under the circumstances you describe, you have no right to quit but receive unemployment.

More generally, any voluntary separation from unemployment--such as resignation--prevents an employee from receiving unemployment. You can receive unemployment so long as you are laid off or fired, assuming you are not fired "for cause"--i.e. not fired due to excessive absenteeism, violation of company policy, insubordination, etc. The way to collect unemployment is to be fired, so long as it's not for cause. Signing a resignation letter would certainly preclude you from receiving unemployment compensation.

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