Unemployment Benefits & Fired Due to Insubordination

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If you get fired, you might not be able to collect unemployment benefits. However, the circumstances of your firing are important. For example, if you were fired for insubordination, your employer must be able to document why. If you were fired and there is no documentation, your employer might have a difficult time convincing the unemployment appeals board that the action was legitimate.

Unemployment Compensation

Unemployment compensation is provided for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Depending upon the circumstances, however, the requirements and rules of unemployment are different. Each state has its own guidelines on the grounds for denying unemployment compensation, usually including willful misconduct and insubordination. If you’ve been fired, you might not be able to collect unemployment compensation. You'll usually get a chance to present your side of the story if you are denied.

Willful Misconduct

At times, what appears to be willful misconduct might have an underlying cause. In some states, such as Connecticut, if you are addicted to drugs and you scream at your boss, you might be able to collect unemployment if you are fired. However, you’ll need to provide medical proof of your addiction.

Read More: Can I Collect Unemployment If I Was Fired for Misconduct?


Legally, insubordination is when a person refuses to fulfill a lawful order. The order can come from a supervisor, a manager or any person who has been given authority the subordinate. “Lawful orders” can be subject to interpretation. For example, if you are ordered to do something unethical and refused, you'll likely get your job back or be able to collect unemployment compensation. Also, if the instructions you refused to obey violated safety regulations, that's not insubordination.


If your unemployment claim is denied, you can appeal. Explain the circumstances of your firing to the unemployment appeals board. Your employer will present its side. The board will decide whether your actions were grounds for termination or if you were unfairly terminated.

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