Can I get Unemployment Insurance if I was fired?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

If you are fired, you may be able to get Unemployment Insurance (UI). But, if your employer had rules that were fair, rules that you knew about, and you broke the rules on purpose, you cannot get unemployment. Also, if you purposely did something that caused serious problems for your employer, you cannot get unemployment benefits.

Your employer may not want you to get benefits because he or she pays the taxes for unemployment insurance. If you get unemployment benefits, your employer may have to pay higher taxes. So your employer may try to prove you knowingly broke a fair rule or policy on purpose. Or, your employer may try to prove you acted against his or her wishes.

To prove that you broke a reasonable rule

Your employer must show:

  1. Your employer told you about the rule or policy;
  2. You knew you were breaking the rule when you acted;
  3. The rule is reasonable; and
  4. He or she treats all employees who break the rule in a similar way.

To show that you acted against his or her expectations or interests

Your employer must show:

  1. You knew that your behavior was a surprise to your employer or 
    you knew the way you behaved hurt the business
    and
  2. you were trying to hurt the business.

If you are fired because you could not do the job, you can still get unemployment benefits.

In every case, when you are laid off the DUA will talk to you and the employer to find out if you can get benefits.  Make sure you tell DUA your side of the story.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated December 2012

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