September 17, 2010

Eligibility of employee for unemployment insurance benefits following resignation

Eligibility of employee for unemployment insurance benefits following resignation
De Benedetto v Brookhaven, Appellate Division, 244 AD2d 740

Is an employee who agrees to resign rather than face disciplinary charges entitled to unemployment insurance benefits? As indicated by the De Benedetto decision by the Appellate Division, it depends on the circumstances.

Town of Brookhaven sanitation inspector Frank De Benedetto was served with disciplinary charges pursuant to Section 75 of the Civil Service Law. The matter was "settled" when the De Benedetto agreed to resign and the Town agreed to withdraw the charges and to advise any prospective employers that he had "resigned for personal reasons." Although De Benedetto's application for unemployment insurance benefits initially was denied because "he had voluntarily left his employment without good cause," the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board reversed, remanding the issue to the local office. The Board said that the question to be resolved was whether or not De Benedetto should be disqualified "because of misconduct."

The Appellate Division affirmed the Board's determination, holding that "there is precedent that a claimant who voluntarily leaves his or her position in the face of disciplinary charges may qualify for unemployment benefits if the actions did not amount to misconduct." The Court cited La Rocca v New York City Department of Transportation, 59 NY2d 683, in support of its ruling.
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