How to Get Unemployment If Fired

Posted by Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights - California Employment Attorneys | Aug 24, 2021

Are You Eligible?

If you were fired from your job because you were unable to perform the job, or you were not a good fit for the job, or if you were laid-off because of economic reasons by the company, you will likely be able to receive unemployment benefits.

A Closer Look

Unemployment benefits (or unemployment insurance) is a combined and cooperative federal and state program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers who have been fired or laid off. Each state, like California, administers a separate unemployment insurance program, but all states follow the same guidelines that were established by U.S. federal law.

When fired from a job in California, you should immediately file your claim with the Employment Development Department (EDD). Approximately two weeks later, they will conduct a phone interview with you and your employer to determine if you're eligible for unemployment benefits—and this includes meeting all the eligibility requirements when (a) filing a claim, and (b) when certifying for benefits.

Requirements to File a Claim

When filing for unemployment benefits, you must have earned enough wages during the base period to establish a claim. The “base period” is a specific 12-month term the EDD uses to see if you've earned enough wages to establish a claim. To see how they determine your base period, review here: How Unemployment Benefits are Computed (DE 8714AB) (PDF).

Here are the other requirements once the EDD has determined you've earned enough wages to qualify; you were—

  • Totally or partially unemployed
  • Unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Physically able to work
  • Available for work
  • Ready and willing to accept work immediately

How much will I receive? And for how long? Two good questions. Your weekly benefit amount will range from $40.00 to $450.00. To calculate an estimate of what you'll receive, use this UI Benefit Calculator.

Fired for Misconduct?

If you were fired for misconduct, you may not receive benefits. The EDD defines misconduct if one of these four areas are met:

  • You owe a “material” duty to the employer
  • You substantially breached that duty
  • Your breach of duty was a wanton or willful act, intentionally violating the duty
  • The breach of duty harmed the employer's business interests

Are You Eligible (if you quit)?

If you quit your job you're usually not eligible for unemployment benefits—unless you have good cause for quitting. Eligible good cause reasons include:

  • Discrimination
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Fraud

Under these circumstances, to qualify and receive benefits it's necessary to show that there was good cause for leaving and that you made all reasonable attempts to keep your job (such as requesting a leave of absence or transfer).

There are also other reasons an individual may have quit their job and may still qualify for unemployment benefits. These include leaving for health reasons (with a medical doctor's advice), or the ongoing threat of domestic violence for you and/or your child. In situations like these, it may be determined that you had reasonable cause to quit.

 What can I do if my claim is denied?

If your claim is denied, you'll receive a notice from the EDD. Their decision can be appealed within twenty days. Once you request the appeal, the EDD will schedule a hearing. If you're not satisfied with their decision, you can then appeal to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. If that decision doesn't go your way, the next step is to bring your case to court. 

 Take Action Now

At Lawyers for Employee & Consumer Rights we specialize in helping employees who've experienced discrimination, fraud, wrongful termination, and more. If you would like more information or need assistance, call us today.


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