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Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for not meeting my quota?

Updated : August 19th, 2022

Failed To Meet Quota

Question from Nicole

Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for not meeting my quota?

I have been employed with a for-profit University for the last year as an admissions advisor. Every admissions advisor is expected to have a certain number of student enrollments per start of each new school session. I did quite well for many months meeting my quota but for the last few months, I have struggled to enroll the number of students expected of me. I have done everything the same in terms of my representation of the university, work ethic, and effort, but despite all my efforts, I have fallen short of the quota. I have been on corrective action since March; I have received a verbal, written, and most recently, a final warning in regards to this matter. Each time, I have taken the steps necessary to bring up my numbers, have kept good attendance, and have gone through many training sessions to improve my performance. Still, along with many other advisors currently, I am finding it increasingly difficult to enroll the students that the University expects. I anticipate I will be let go within a matter of days, to weeks at best. Would I be eligible to receive unemployment benefits in this situation?

Hi Nicole,

Your situation is a common situation nowadays. In the past if a person was discharged for failing to meet quotas, the employer may expect good results if they could show the failure to meet quotas was due to a “neglect of duties” by using your good performance reviews to show that you were capable of meeting the requirements of the job.

But now, we are in an economic downturn which makes this argument much less effective due to the fact that nobody has money .. loans are hard to come by .. yadah, yadah.

If you are fired, you will simply counter any argument about neglect with the things that are putting attaining the goals out of your reach and stressing that the “things” are “out of your control” and despite doing your job to the “best of your ability” the things that were out of your control kept you from attaining the goals.

Remember that for an employer to prove misconduct, they have to prove the act or failure which they believe to be misconduct was within your control. This could be as blatant as an act that a 3 year old would know is wrong or it could be a simple misjudgment for which you had some control over at some point and at the point of control you made a volitional decision to do the wrong thing.

I always advise counter documenting for employees on the written warnings. There is usually a space for the employee’s comment and too few make use of that space. In it should be the reasons you believe the warning are for something other than misconduct or specifically the things out of your control and your assertions that you are doing your job to the best of your ability.

Does this make sense?


Comments for Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for not meeting my quota?
Collecting Unemployed if You’re Fired

by: Nanlisa


Whatever you do, don’t quit. Let them fire you. Find out what the unemployment laws are in the state of Oregon. If they fire you, then go file for it. If they turn you down, then appeal it. What have you got to lose. You may not be cut out for that type of work. Anytime you work in sales, you have to meet a certain quota, and that’s the bottom line.

Here in Pennsylvania, where I live, if you’re fired for willful misconduct, or quit your job without a necessary and compelling reason, you can’t collect unemployment. But if you went in there and did the best that you could, you should be able to get it. They would have to call there and verify it anyway. And like I said, if they turn you down, then go file an appeal.

Good luck to you.


Getting Unemployment for Being Fired

by: Nanlisa

From my own personal experience, I’ve been let go from several telemarketing and market research jobs for not meeting the company’s (and their clients’) production goals. It was not my fault. I went in there. I had very good attendance. I made the calls to the very best of my ability. Since there was no misconduct involved, I was able to get unemployment.

I don’t know what the unemployment laws are in your state, but here in Pennsylvania, you cannot collect unemployment if you quit your job without a necessary and compelling reason and for willful misconduct. If you went in there every day, you did the very best that you could, but you didn’t perform up to the university’s standards, you should be able to get it. Go ahead and file for unemployment. If they turn you down, you can always appeal it. As long as you weren’t fired for willful misconduct, you should be OK.


Thank you

by: Nicole

Yes, that does make sense. I believe something was written to the effect that I was not meeting their expectations on core principles of measured risk taking, and expertise, etc., something to that nature. I did not agree with this, as I have been doing everything the same, but nonetheless was told to sign. I hope by signing I did not attest to saying I was the source of the problem and that this was in fact misconduct on my part. I am a little worried now.

Hi Nicole,

Why don’t you try writing a response to the write-up and ask that it be added to your personnel file and associated with the write-up. I’d think this would be best to do via email. If they refuse to add it and just for your own records, you’ll be able to show it was sent and what their response is.

Fired over not meeting sales quota

Posted by Karen (Arizona)

My company is trying to fire me over not meeting their sales quota. They gave me till the 26th of this month.. tomorrow.. to hit this goal and there’s no way I’m going to be able to do it.

The store moved locations recently and has very slowly started to pick up. Before it was pretty slow. There’s only 3 of us working. One gentleman is Mexican and bilingual and the other two, including me, are White and not bilingual. With working in AZ, I’ve noticed that the bilingual has the advantage here. But the other guy.. I’m the only girl.. has around the same numbers as me. The Mexican has over the quota. But with being the only girl against these two guys is hard enough to try and get sales in a slow store. But they’re wanting to fire me and have issued their final written warning. I’ve even showed improvement in my sales but they say it’s not good enough.

The manager loves my attitude and doesn’t want me to go. He knows that the store is slow. But if they fire me over not meeting this quota, I’d like to know if I have any chance to try to get unemployment? We’re a military family and it’s actually harder for me to even find another job. I’ve been looking for 2 months for another job and no luck. So I’ll need all the help I can get with unemployment issues.

Hi Karen,

Document back to the employer the things you believe are “out of your personal control” which are having the effect of you not being able to meet the sales quotas.

Inability to meet sales goals are caused by more than a failure to perform. Counter documenting employer discipline with reasonable alternatives to the employer’s contention that it is somehow your fault and by virtue “misconduct connected with the work is how you lay your case out .. before it happens ..

This is exactly what the employer is doing with their documentation .. preparing a case for denying unemployment.

Comments for Fired over not meeting sales quota
Fired over not meeting sales quota…
by: Karen In both my warnings it says that “I have an outstanding personality and have been punctual. Although we feel your personality is an asset to our team, (the company) cant afford to employ me if I do not produce the minimum sales/commission expectation.” Gave me a deadline and told me what I have to be trending or I’ll be terminated….

This is stated in both the Expectation parts of both letters. I refused to sign the first one at first until the manager told me I would be fired on the spot if I didn’t sign. So I signed. I know signing them puts me at fault. But at least with me showing effort by improving my sales a lil bit at a time, and the store being as slow as it is, do you think I have good odds at getting benefits? It’s like I don’t know what to do or even say really if they try to turn this on me.

Also, I had to leave work a few times due to medical reason and my house getting robbed but didn’t have a medical excuse. I have all my medical papers and police report to back it up. And then they said I had inappropriate work place conversations.. which with that I don’t even know what I said and he didn’t even tell me! I guess I’m just lost when it comes to this mess. Any help is defiantly worth having and deeply appreciated!!

Hi Karen,

Just so you know .. if you are required to sign write-ups or face discharge for insubordination for not signing .. somewhere on the form there should ber something that says signing does not mean you necessarily agree.

Regardless, if an employee is written up and they believe the discipline does not state the facts correctly .. they should always counter document (I suggest email) and ask that the response be added to their personnel file.

Being an employee doesn’t mean we have given up the right to “respectfully disagree with the employer’s assessments of a situation or given up the right to make an attempt to protect ourselves from less than fair actions of an employer .. just in case we need unemployment benefits .. or maybe something other kind of claim against an employer.

I always think it’s helpful to think of yourself as self employed and your business is leasing yourself out. If you had a business .. you wouldn’t think twice about taking care of it .. so why should “at will” employment be any different.

No one looks out for us .. but us.

It’s always the perception of who has the power that tends to make us act like we have no options.

If you have the ability to sell (which I am completely bereft of:) maybe the problem isn’t you .. but the things the employer is doing or allowing to happen that is the cause .. or maybe it’s just the stinking economy.

Whatever the case if you work for someone else you had better put “protecting yourself” above all else because getting fired does not always mean what the employer has to prove it means to stop you from collecting unemployment.

And that would be intentional misconduct.



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