Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board may apply the doctrine of collateral estoppel in denying a claimant UI benefits based on a disciplinary arbitration that led to the claimant’s dismissal

The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board may apply the doctrine of collateral estoppel in denying a claimant UI benefits based on a disciplinary arbitration that led to the claimant’s dismissal
2013 NY Slip Op 05280, Appellate Division, Third Department

A claimant for unemployment insurance benefits challenged his dismissal from his position by the employer but an arbitrator concluded that there was just cause for his termination.

Subsequently the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board denied the claimant’s application for unemployment insurance benefits, ruling that he was disqualified from receiving such benefits because he was terminated for disqualifying misconduct. The claimant then appealed the Board’s ruling.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Board’s decision explaining that "as there was a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in the prior [arbitration] proceeding, collateral estoppel effect must be given to the arbitrator's factual findings regarding claimant's misconduct."

As the Board had appropriately taken into account the arbitrator's factual findings and made "an independent evaluation as to whether that conduct constitutes 'misconduct' for the purposes of unemployment insurance" the Appellate Division found no basis to overturn the Board's ruling.

Although the individual contended that “at worst, the alleged conduct constituted an excusable error in judgment,” the Board disagreed.

The decision notes that the individual had been counseled by the employer prior to this incident "for various safety violations" and where the misconduct is potentially detrimental to the employer's best interest may, “as in this instance, be sufficient to constitute disqualifying misconduct.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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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