Protein misfolding is a common cellular event that can produce intrinsically harmful products. To reduce the risk, quality control mechanisms are deployed to detect and eliminate misfolded, aggregated, and unassembled proteins. In the secretory pathway, it is mainly the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) pathways that perform this role. Here, specialized factors are organized to monitor and process the folded states of nascent polypeptides. Despite the complex structures, topologies, and posttranslational modifications of client molecules, the ER mechanisms are the best understood among all protein quality-control systems. This is the result of convergent and sometimes serendipitous discoveries by researchers from diverse fields. Although major advances in ER quality control and ERAD came from all model organisms, this review will focus on the discoveries culminating from the simple budding yeast.