Is it difficult to get unemployment when you are terminated?

I was recently terminated from my job and my employer is saying I was fired for misconduct. They say I was continuously showing unprofessional behavior. I have spoken to 2 lawyers and both say I could sue for my job back but it probably wouldn’t be worth the time and effort because then they could just fire me for something else. I have a phone interview for unemployment and sometimes you have to fill out a questionnaire when you are discharged from your job is it a good or bad thing that I didn’t receive the questionnaire? Without unemployment I have absolutely no source of income.

Asked on September 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) Unless you had an employment contract, which limited the grounds for terminating you, it's unclear why you would have any ability to sue for reinstatement at all. Without a contract, you are an employee at will; an employee at will may be fired at any time, for any reason. So to disagree with the attorneys you spoke with, unless you had a contract, or can show you were discriminated against in being fired (e.g. you were fired because of your race, sex, religion, age over 40, disability), it is highly unlikely that suing would get you anything, including even short-term reinstatement.

2) If you are fired for cause, you can't get unemployment. Being fired for misconduct could be considered termination for cause. The unemployment office has no way of knowing that, though, unless the employer challenges your application for unemployment compensation. So whether you are eligible for unemployment or not depends largely on what  your employer says.


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