Washington Unemployment Benefits Laws

Workers may receive unemployment benefits if they were laid off or fired for reasons other than misconduct, or if they were compelled to quit for valid reasons.

A terminated employee may not be denied unemployment benefits if they did not willfully commit a harmful action against the employer’s interest. This means an employee who was terminated for incompetency, performance issues, or other mistakes may still receive benefits. An employee who quits must prove they had “good cause” to do so in order to receive unemployment benefits.

There is a limited list of valid reasons for quitting a job, such as a 25% or more decrease in pay, or where the employee’s well-being was put at risk due to bad work conditions.  A requirement that is usually enforced is that the employee make every effort to work out the issue with the employer before quitting.

Unemployment benefits are typically substantially less than the average work pay, and it may take four to six weeks or more for your initial check to arrive if you are granted benefits.  If you are considering quitting and are unsure as to whether you might be entitled to benefits, please call our firm or the Unemployment Law Project at (206) 441-9178.