What are an employee’s rights if they have to resign from their job due to a health hazard in the workplace?

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What are an employee’s rights if they have to resign from their job due to a health hazard in the workplace?

I had to take an initial medical leave and subsequently resign from my part time sales position because I became ill from a workplace mold issue. I filed a complaint with the company’s online complaint line and was told they were removing the mold (this happened after I filed my complaint) – mold had been there a long time previously – but they were not acknowledging a mold issue in the area of the store I was working in so I decided to resign as I did not want to jeopardize my health further. I filed for unemployment (while still on medical leave) and do not know if I will qualify for unemployment. Is there any other legal thing I can do about this.

Asked on September 20, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Generally, you can file for unemployment if you are no longer employed due to no fault of your own, meaning that it was not your fault for losing your job. Quitting a job does not usually qualify you for unemployment benefits. State law really varies on the subject that surrounds this statement and if you feel that you were forced to leave due to a workplace environment issue then you should seek a bit of counseling from an employment attorney in the area on the matter.  You do not wish to be placed in the position of having to pay back the benefits should they start to pay you and are later disqualified.  Good luck.


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