Tuesday, October 15, 2013


In a column today in Newsday, there is a discussion regarding an employee quitting because of one instance of verbal abuse by the employer. The advice was "Generally, if you resign, you don't qualify for unemployment benefits. But you should apply because the Labor Department stresses that it decides claims on a case-by-case basis."

I would add this - on the claimant's application, if the claimant states voluntary separation as the cause of separation, there is generally no benefits paid until the investigation is complete by the DOL - and then if good cause for separation is established , benefits will commence. Some claimants are aware of this and state another reason for separation (lack of work for example) so that benefits will start immediately and hope that the employer will not contest or that the DOL investigation will result in a favorable decision on the issue of voluntary separation.

There are great risks in the latter approach - if the ultimate determination is that the claimant voluntary separation was without good cause, the DOL may issue a false statement penalty as well as seek repayment of benefits paid. From the DOL website:

"Section 594 of the Unemployment Insurance Law provides that "a claimant who has wilfully made a false statement or representation to obtain any benefit ... shall forfeit benefits for at least the first four but not more than the first eighty effective days following discovery of such offense ...". It further provides that the claimant shall be deemed to have received benefits for such forfeited effective days", and that "A claimant shall refund all moneys received because of such false statement ..."."

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