Saturday, June 12, 2010


Is every act of an employee in violation of company policy an act of misconduct, thus disqualifying Claimant from Unemployment Insurance? That is the position of many Employers and is an issue that I am facing in an appeal and several upcoming hearings. I will discuss my research in this blog. Let's begin with the general introduction of the rules from the Appeals Board website:

"Under Section 593.3, if a claimant lost employment prior to the filing of his claim through misconduct in connection with his employment, he is disqualified from benefits beginning with such loss of employment and ending when he has worked in subsequent employment and earned remuneration at least equal to five times his weekly benefit rate. In addition, any wages earned in employment which ended due to misconduct in connection with that employment cannot be used to establish a valid original claim for benefits. (See Field Memo 2-99 for further detail)

The term "misconduct" is not defined in the statute. However, the Court of Appeals in Matter of James(34 NY 2d 491; A-750-1775) has indicated that "misconduct" is any volitional act or omission which is detrimental to an employer's interests. Subsequent Appeal Board decisions have indicated that "misconduct" may include acts or omissions off the job as well as on the job, if adverse effect on the employer is demonstrated.

Notwithstanding the broad concept of misconduct now applied, there remain circumstances which would not justify the imposition of a disqualification for misconduct, including:

Mere inefficiency,

Inadequate performance as the result of inability or incapacity,

Inadvertence or ordinary negligence in isolated instances,

Good faith errors in judgement or discretion.

On the other hand, even inadequate performance may be misconduct if it can be shown that it resulted from gross negligence, indifference, or recurrent carelessness."

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