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December 16, 2011

Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board must make an independent determination as to whether the employee was dismissed for misconduct within the meaning of the Labor Law.


Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board must make an independent determination as to whether the employee was dismissed for misconduct within the meaning of the Labor Law.
Ranni v. Ross, 84 A.D.2d 858

The arbitrator found the employee guilty of misconduct, gross insubordination and failure to properly perform his duties. The penalty of dismissal was imposed.

Later the former employee claim for unemployment benefits was denied on the basis of the arbitrator’s disciplinary determination.

The Appellate Division ruled that “an employer may be completely justified in discharging an employee, yet the grounds for the firing may not constitute misconduct within the meaning of Section 593.3 of the Labor Law.”

As the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board relied exclusively on the arbitrator’s findings regarding the dismissal, the Court said that “there is no substantial evidence in the record (before the Board) to support the Board’s denial of the claim” and sent the matter back to the Board for further consideration.

N.B. Section 593.3 does not define “misconduct” but merely refers to it in connection with the calculation of periods of time in connection with disqualification for benefits.) One judge, in a dissent, argued that the employee should not be given the opportunity to relitigate the disciplinary action within the context of an unemployment insurance claim.

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