If I quit for cause, can I still collect unemployment?

I’m a sales employee for a company that has a small weekly salary and the rest is made out of commissions. Each sales employee gets their own territory where they are given leads and are required to drum up business for that territory. I have to meet monthly sales quotas or be fired. Today I found out that a lot of my leads in my territory are being given to someone else. This is causing me to not meet my quota because no matter what I do to drum up business, my leads are being passed on to

someone else. I want to know if this is legal, being that I work based off commission, and I’m required to meet a quota that is impossible to meet if I’m not getting leads.

Asked on March 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, while understandable, if you voluntarily quit your employment then you are ineligible to collect unemployment benefits. Unemployment elibiblilty is ony if you are discharged by your company but not for "cause". This holds true even if you employer imposed unrealistic quotas and did not give you the adequate "tool" for which to attain these goals.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, in the situation you describe, you would not be eligible for unemployment. Unless you have a still-in-effect (i.e. not expired) written employment contract which the employer is violating, they can give your leads to someone else: in the absence of a written employment contract, the employer has free discretion to change, define, etc. your job (including giving sales leads to someone else, and/or impacting your compensation) however it likes. The law does not require employers to be reasonable or fair--they can lawfully give you impossible goals. Therefore, since the employer is doing what legally may, if you choose to leave, your leaving will be a voluntarily separation from employment; and a voluntary separation from employment, no matter how justified it seems, makes you ineligible for unemployment compensation or benefits.


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