IfI quit for fear of a major injury during the course of performing my duties, wouldI still be able to collect unemployment?

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IfI quit for fear of a major injury during the course of performing my duties, wouldI still be able to collect unemployment?

I have nightly job duties requiring me to use a trash lift and compactor. However, the lift had to modified in a way that I’m sure is against OSHA regulations in order to be operable. They had to cut a length of the forks that physically hold the trash bins up as they are lifted to make it fit where they wanted it.

Asked on August 13, 2011 Colorado

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your business or line of work is regulated and required to be regulated by OSHA and pass OSHA requirements, then before you quit you may wish to seek out OSHA and explain what is occurring and see what options it offers. Perhaps OSHA will be immediately dispatched. You cannot be fired in retaliation for reporting a possible OSHA violation but I can tell you that if OSHA reports the violation as serious, you just might be able to claim unemployment for a theory of constructive termination. You usually cannot collect unemployment benefits for simply quitting or if you are fired for cause. You have to be fired without cause or there has to be some sort of extraordinary circumstance for having to quit (like constructive termination due to health and safety violations). Talk to your state's department of labor anonymously with generalized questions like I have raised to see if the agency could give you some insight and direction.


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