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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oral assurance of reemployment given to an educator found sufficient to defeat her claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits


Oral assurance of reemployment given to an educator found sufficient to defeat her claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits
2013 NY Slip Op 07241, Appellate Division, Third Department

A full-time special education teacher [Teacher] was laid off from her position as a full-time special education teacher by her employer during the 2009-2010 academic year. She, however, remained on the employer's payroll at a reduced salary for the following academic year as a coach and per diem substitute teacher.

In June, prior to the end of the academic year, Teacher received a telephone call from the employer offering her a full-time position as a special education teacher for the new academic year at a salary 5% higher than her former full-time employment.

Although Teacher orally accepted the position, she nevertheless filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits effective July 11. In August Teacher received a memorandum confirming her employment. Ultimately, the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ruled that Teacher was ineligible to receive benefits because she had received a reasonable assurance of continued employment pursuant to Labor Law §590(10).*

In addition, the Board said that Teacher was subject to a recoverable overpayment with respect to the unemployment benefits that had been paid to her.

Teacher appealed the Board’s determination.

The Appellate Division affirm the Board’s ruling, explaining "A professional employed by an educational institution is precluded from receiving unemployment insurance benefits for the period between two successive academic years when he or she has received a reasonable assurance of continued employment."

The question of whether a teacher received a reasonable assurance of reemployment for the following academic year is a question of fact and, if the Board's findings that the teacher had, in fact, received such an assurance that is supported by substantial evidence, they will not be disturbed.

Here, said the court, the Board specifically credited teacher's testimony that she was informed prior to the end of the academic year that a position was available at the beginning of the upcoming semester. Although Teacher did not receive formal notice in writing until August, the Appellate Division said that it found no basis to conclude that the oral assurance that teacher received in June was not sufficient and reliable within the meaning of Labor Law §590[10].

* Labor Law §590(10) addresses the terms and conditions of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits available to professional employee with educational institutions, including the State University of New York, the City University of New York and public community colleges.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_07241.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/

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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