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Unemployment Disqualifications

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1. Reduced Hours of Work: If you’re not able or available to work a regular work week, this can get you disqualified. Even if you’re a part-time worker, you have to be able and available for the number of hours per week set out by your employer or state. This also includes not looking for work, as individuals who apply for unemployment are expected to be actively seeking employment, and something like sending out no resumes will look pretty bad on your record. While some states monitor this on a weekly basis, it’s best to check with your state’s unemployment agency to be 100% sure.

2. Quitting Without Good Cause: While “good cause” can be difficult to define and each state may have a different way of expressing it, leaving a job without good cause usually means you have to have had tried to stick out there. For example, if you’re a cashier and you decide one day that you don’t like talking to customers, that’s not good cause attributable to the employer. Other examples that may disqualify you are not showing up to work and letting your employer know, losing a requirement necessary to perform your job, or citing medical reasons without backing it up with proof.

3. Becoming Unemployed Due to Misconduct: Again, each state has its own way of defining what it means to be discharged from employed based on misconduct. Take Maryland, for example, which has three levels of misconduct: simple misconduct, gross misconduct, and aggravated misconduct. What misconduct is—and if your employer or state uses it on a scalar system—varies, so read your contract carefully and consult your unemployment agency to make sure you won’t be disqualified for this.

4. Refusing to Work: If you refuse to do a certain task at your job that’s suitable as defined by the law or your contract and you become unemployed as a result, you’ll probably get disqualified. This doesn’t mean that you can’t refuse something like climbing a ladder in a snowstorm to hang a sign (as that puts your safety in jeopardy), but not doing suitable work and expecting to stay employed (or receive unemployment benefits if you’ve been discharged.)

5. Labor Dispute: This one’s a bit tricky to define, as it not only changes from state to state, but also from employer to employer. However, some very general examples include taking part in a (wildcat) strike without being “allowed” to; filing a claim against your employer; or being involved in a dispute due to theft, destruction of property, or assault and battery.

No matter what the reason is, always double-check with your state’s unemployment agency to find out for certain if you’re disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.

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