So your are unemployed. What happens next? Well, unemployment can impact your finances, mental health, and sense of identity. You may even fear coming to a breaking point with a bankruptcy case. However, you may find a surprising amount of resources to help during this challenging time.

So You Are Unemployed. What Happens Next?

This article discusses the legal options available when you become unemployed. We also have valuable advice on maximizing benefits, job searches, the biggest causes of employment and how to connect with a local employment lawyer. Whether newly or long-term unemployed, read this guide and plan for what happens next.

Your Employment Status and Misclassification

Your employment status will have a significant role in what happens after losing your job. You likely already know much of these details, but you may not understand the legal implications. Depending what state you live in, you may even have more benefits than you realize. Consider these details below carefully because they will affect what you can do to move beyond unemployment. 

Full-Time Employment

Full-time employment means working 40 hours or more per week. This status entitles you to certain benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Additionally, full-time employees have protections through anti-discrimination and minimum wage laws.

Part-Time Employment

Part-time employment refers to working less than 40 hours per week. As a result, your benefits often depend on your employer’s policies. While flexibility in work hours can be helpful, it can lead to scheduling and job stability problems. Furthermore, you may not have enough hours for unemployment or Social Security benefits.

Contract Employment

Contract work refers to working on a project or assignment basis for an employer or client. Contract workers are generally considered self-employed. As such, they do not have entitlements to benefits or employment protections. 

Employment Misclassification

Misclassification refers to identifying employees as independent contractors to avoid taxes and providing benefits. This action can lead to employees receiving denials for protections like minimum wage and overtime pay. Independent contractor status can be legitimate, but it is not proper for companies to deceive you about it.

Unemployment Benefits

Losing your job can be a financial blow, but unemployment benefits can help bridge the gap. They provide temporary financial assistance to workers, but you must meet the eligibility requirements.

First, you must have worked long enough and earned the minimum wages required. The exact requirements vary by state, so you must check your state’s unemployment website for specific details.

If you are eligible, you can typically receive a portion of your previous wages. Generally, the state pays for up to 26 weeks. Other benefits you can receive depend on your earnings and other factors, such as dependents.

You can file a claim with your state’s agency to apply for unemployment benefits. You usually have options to complete this task online or over the phone. Once your claim receives approval, you must certify that you have taken steps to find a new job regularly.

Unemployment payments are subject to federal and state taxes. They can also get reduced or terminated if you do not meet expectations. Moreover, you may have to pay back the benefits if the government believes you are ineligible.

Resources for the Unemployed

Losing your job can lead to hard times. But there are resources available to help you and your family. Here are some resources that can assist you during unemployment:

Government Resources

The government offers a variety of resources to help unemployed individuals. Vocational training programs and job search assistance often come along with unemployment benefits. Check your state’s website for more information.

Community Resources

Local community organizations and charities may offer resources such as food banks, rent assistance, and job fairs. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or the Department of Human Services to find out what is available.


Expanding your connections can be an effective way to find job leads and make professional connections. Attend networking events, contact former colleagues, and use LinkedIn, or other job/social sites to find new options.

Job Searching

Job searching can be a full-time job in itself. Use online job boards, company websites, and professional associations to find leads. Also, consider working with a recruiter or job placement agency to help you find opportunities.


Unemployment can take a toll on your mental health and well-being. Take care of yourself by exercising, eating well, and practicing self-care activities. Seek professional help if you find yourself suffering from depression or anxiety.

Legal Options for Unemployed Workers

You may have legal options to seek redress for losing your job. But you should consult an attorney to understand your legal rights. As for some examples, here are some legal opportunities that could be available to many unemployed workers:

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for an illegal reason. For instance, they could be guilty of a breach of contract or making prejudicial staffing decisions. As a result, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer to seek damages.

Workplace Discrimination and Retaliation

Discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently based on a protected characteristic. Your race, gender identity, age, and many other aspects could have been why you lost your jobSo You Are Unemployed. What Happens Next?

If you have experienced discrimination, you can seek justice by filing a complaint. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can investigate the circumstances and offer findings that justify a lawsuit.

Unemployment Appeals

You may be able to appeal a denial of unemployment benefits. This process can involve a hearing where you present evidence and argue your case. Since these situations involve trial-like situations, consider hiring an attorney to help you prepare or represent you.

Non-Compete Agreements

Non-compete agreements restrict employees from finding a new position with a competitor. Typically, this limitation lasts for a certain period after leaving their employer.

These agreements can be enforceable, but they must be reasonable. Employers cannot demand extensive timelines or be too broad in scope. If you signed a non-compete, have an attorney review the terms and advise you on your prospects.

Severance Agreements and Packages

Your employer may offer you a severance package. These packages can include benefits such as extended health insurance coverage, additional pay, or job search and replacement assistance.

Nonetheless, these packages often require you to sign a waiver of your legal rights. You should definitely consider consulting with an attorney before accepting this offer.

Schedule a Consultation With an Employment Attorney Today

While there are similarities, standardized employment laws do not exist in the United States. The crucial details depend on where you live, so personalized advice is invaluable. Otherwise, despite the advice from above, you may not know whats happens if you are unemployed or what should happen next.

We have the resources available to connect you with a local employment attorney. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it. You can start today by completing our form or talking to a representative at (866) 345-6784.

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