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Thursday, January 09, 2014

An individual leaving his or her employment in anticipation of being laid-off is ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits


An individual leaving his or her employment in anticipation of being laid-off is ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits
2013 NY Slip Op 07242, Appellate Division, Third Department

The claimant [Claimant] was informed that his department would be downsized. The employer, however, advised the employees in Claimant’s department that a “voluntary separation package” was available but that if an insufficient number of employees did not accept the package, the remainder of the reduction would then be accomplished by involuntary separation.

The employer also advised the employees in the department that were involuntarily separated that they would receive the same benefit package as those accepting the voluntary separation. Although Claimant knew that there was still work available with the employer, he elected to accept the voluntary separation package.

When Claimant applied for unemployment insurance benefit, the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ruled that he had voluntarily left his employment without good cause and was therefore disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Claimant appealed but the Appellate Division sustained the Board’s determination, explaining that "Voluntary separation from employment in order to accept an early retirement or separation incentive package when, as here, continuing work is available has been held not to constitute good cause for leaving employment."

Although Claimant testified that he accepted the separation package out of fear of losing his job, Claimant was never informed that he was going to be laid off during the workforce reduction and, in any event, he was told that those that were to be laid off would receive the same benefits package as those that accepted the voluntary separation.

In addition, the court noted that leaving employment in the anticipation of losing one's job in the future is not a departure for good cause.

The decision is posted on the Internet at
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Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

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A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances 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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