December 27, 2010

Dissatisfaction with an employer's drug testing procedure is not “good cause” for resigning for the purposes of claiming unemployment benefits

Dissatisfaction with an employer's drug testing procedure is not “good cause” for resigning for the purposes of claiming unemployment benefits
Matter of French v Town of Lyndon, 2010 NY Slip Op 09451, Decided on December 23, 2010, Appellate Division, Third Department

Kevin M. French, a driver/operator for the Town of Lyndon. He advised Lyndon that he believed that drug testing of drivers was being performed incorrectly by the company Lyndon was then using to perform the tests. This led to Lyndon having the tests administered by a different company.

Sometime later French overheard a Town official telling his immediate supervisor that he was scheduled for a random drug test. French failed to report for work the next day and when contacted, said that “he had quit and did not wish to discuss the matter further.”

French filed for unemployment insurance benefit. The State Department of Labor issued an initial determination disqualifying him for benefits after finding that he voluntarily separated from employment without good cause.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Department’s determination, holding that “Whether a claimant has voluntarily separated from employment without good cause is an issue of fact to be resolved by the Board, and its decision will not be disturbed when supported by substantial evidence.”

As to “good cause,” the court noted that “Dissatisfaction with an employer's method of doing business does not constitute good cause for leaving employment, particularly where the employee did not make a reasonable attempt to protect employment by notifying the employer about his or her concerns.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2010/2010_09451.htm

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