In order to collect unemployment, you must meet two basic requirements. First, you must have earned at least a minimum amount, set by state law, in the time before you lost your job. Second, you must be out of work through no fault of your own. (For more information on each of these requirements, see Who is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?)
If you lose your job in a layoff, reduction-in-force (RIF), or downsizing, you will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. But what if you are fired? And, what if you are wrongfully terminated -- that is, fired for illegal reasons?
If You Were Fired
In some situations, you may still qualify for unemployment benefits in Louisiana even if you are fired from your job. For example, if you were fired because you were just a poor fit, you may still be eligible for benefits.
You may not be eligible for benefits in Louisiana if you were fired for misconduct connected with your job.
You may be disqualified either for a set number of weeks or until you get another job and earn a minimum amount, depending on state law. In some states, the length of the disqualification period depends on why you were fired. You can learn more about how disqualification works in Louisiana in the Unemployment Benefits Rights and Responsibilities (Benefits Rights Information).
If You Were Wrongfully Terminated
Sometimes employers fire employees for reasons that are illegal, such as an employee’s refusal to submit to sexual harassment or reporting unsafe working conditions to a government agency. If you were fired for protected reasons like these, you may have been wrongfully terminated.
The definition of “wrongful termination” varies from state to state. If you believe your employer fired you without a good reason or for an illegal reason, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in Louisiana. In this situation, you may want to speak to an employment lawyer, not only to find out whether you can collect unemployment, but also to learn about your other legal rights. For example, if you were wrongfully terminated, you may be entitled to reinstatement, money damages, and more. See Do I Need a Lawyer to Get Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana? to learn more; if you decide to talk to a lawyer, see How Can I Find an Unemployment Lawyer in Louisiana?
If you believe you were fired because you complained about your employer's violation of wage and hour laws (like the laws entitling employees to overtime, the minimum wage, tips, breaks, and so on), visit our site on minimum wage and overtime law, which includes information on your rights to fair pay and how to find a lawyer if you think your employer owes you wages.
If you were denied unemployment benefits and you believe you were wrongfully terminated, you may want to appeal the decision. See Can I Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana? for information on filing an appeal.