Monday, June 13, 2011

Teacher disqualified for unemployment insurance benefits after refusing substitute position


Teacher disqualified for unemployment insurance benefits after refusing substitute position
Kurtz v Henrietta Central School District v Commissioner of Labor, 37 AD3d 895

An art teacher was employed by the Rush Henrietta Central School District during the 2003-2004 school year. Her position was abolished effective July 1, 2004. The District, however, offered her a position as a long-term substitute art teacher for the first semester of the 2004-2005 school year to replace a teacher who was on maternity leave. The District made the offer in May 2004 and again in July 2004, but Kurtz did not accept it.


Kurtz had received over $4,000 in unemployment benefits when the district filed an objection with the Unemployment Insurance Board. After a hearing, Kurtz’s claim was disallowed “because she refused an offer of suitable employment without good cause.”

When Kurtz appealed, the Appellate Division sustained the Board’s determination, holding that “A claimant who rejects employment for which he or she is reasonably suited by training and experience will be disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits.”

As Kurtz had the qualifications necessary to perform the duties of a long-term substitute art teacher, the court said that fact that it was a temporary position was not a legitimate reason for her to refuse to accept it.

Noting that the District’s human resources director testified that Kurtz would have received wages and benefits similar to those she received as a probationary art teacher, the Appellate Division said that:

Claimant's misunderstanding of the terms of the offer and her failure to make further inquiry concerning the same do not excuse her inaction. Furthermore, claimant's admitted failure to disclose the job offer when certifying for benefits supports the Board's finding that she made a willful misrepresentation and its decision to charge her with a recoverable overpayment.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2007/2007_00717.htm

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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