Can I quit my job and collect unemployment if the chemical fumes make me sick?
The company that I work for has made me take a new position and now I am forced to work in a department where the fumes from the chemicals to make the product, as well as the product itself, give me a headache and all sorts of sinus trouble. Can I still collect unemployment benefits if I quit?
In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in North Carolina, you have to have lost your job through no fault of your own. This typically means that if you quit your job, you can't get unemployment. So if you quit your job because you don't like it, or it was too hard, or because it didn't pay enough, or because the hours didn't work for your schedule, don't expect to collect unemployment.
That having been said, if you are in a hostile work environment or otherwise feel like you have to quit for a very good reason such a threat to your health or safety, then you are eligible to collect unemployment benefits. However, the burden is on you to prove that a dangerous or hazardous work environment in fact exists. There will have to be a hearing and you will have to document your evidence. A good start would be a letter from your doctor attesting to the health impairment your work conditions are causing you. Any and all back-up evidence should also be presented.
At this point before you do anything, you should contact NC's department of labor or even your local unemployment office and ask for a list of criteria that is necessary to prove an unsafe working enviornment. You can also contact an employment law attorney for suggestions. An hour or so consult with one could be well worth it.