There are generally three types of separations:

Voluntary quits and the following actions of the employee, employer, and the state involved will be the focus of this post. How separating employees should approach such an event, how employers should have prepared in advance to the incident, and how the state will respond, will all be addressed.

A classic example of a voluntary quit is when an individual tells his or her employee, “I quit!” Other voluntary quits include an employee’s failure to report to work for a number of days or failure to maintain contact with the employer about his or her availability.

Unlike with a discharge where the employer must provide evidence to the state, the burden of proof rests with the former employee to prove that he or she had a good cause to voluntarily quit. If the former employee succeeds in proving the following three things to the state, he or she will receive unemployment benefits. The individual must prove:

  1. They left for a compelling reason such as:
    • Change in the hiring agreement
    • Change of pay
    • Change of hours/schedule
    • Change of location
  2. There was no alternative but to resign
  3. They did everything possible to rectify the situation prior to resigning.

While the employee is required to bring this proof to the table, the state will also await a protest from the employer. The employer should be able to provide for the state a clear and concise explanation of the events that led up to the separation and documentation to support the employer’s position. This documentation may be in the form of a letter of resignation, an employee statement, a signed receipt showing the employees’ awareness of company policies, and/or other related documents. Additionally, if the former employee claims some type of dissatisfaction with his or her employment, the state will expect to see that there was something in place for the individual to resolve the issue.

Although voluntary quits are classified as their own type of separation, there are a few cases where a voluntary quit will be viewed as a discharge, and the burden of proof will rest as it does in any discharge: with the employer. These cases include:

  1. A forced resignation – if the former employee had no real choice between resigning or being fired, states will view such a separation as a discharge.
  2. Only one no call/no show on record – it’s important to allow more than one occurrence before discharging an employee so that there is sufficient documentation.
  3. A demotion – if the former employee quit because the demotion resulted in less pay or different job duties, the employer will have to prove misconduct was the reason for the demotion.
  4. A voluntary resignation – if the former employee resigned and provided a two week notice, but the employer did not allow them to fulfill the two weeks, it will be viewed as a discharge.