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February 13, 2014

Unemployment insurance benefits claimant’s showing of “good cause” for failing to comply with registration requirements requires granting of her application for benefits



Unemployment insurance benefits claimant’s showing of “good cause” for failing to comply with registration requirements requires granting of her application for benefits
2014 NY Slip Op 00270, Appellate Division, Third Department

The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ruled that a teacher [Claimant] was ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits because she failed to comply with registration requirements.

Claimant served as a part-time public school teacher. Believing that she would be rehired during the following school year in the same capacity or as a substitute teacher, she did not file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits during the intervening summer.

When Claimant was not rehired and was unable to work as a substitute, she filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. Her claim was ultimately considered by the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and denied on the ground that she failed to comply with the applicable registration requirements.

Acknowledging that “it is well settled that registering and certifying for benefits in accordance with the requirements of the Labor Law and applicable regulations is a prerequisite to eligibility, the Appellate Division noted that  … “the failure to comply with such requirements may be excused for good cause shown,” which is a factual issue for the Board to resolve.

Here, however, Claimant testified that she failed to register because her employer gave her a reasonable assurance that her employment would be continued during the 2012-1013 school year and, therefore, she did not think that she was eligible for benefits. Indeed, Claimant indicated that she previously had applied for benefits under similar circumstances and her claim was denied upon the basis that she had been given a reasonable assurance of continued employment.*

Claimant also testified that she did not file the claim at issue until it became clear that she would not be rehired as a regular part-time teacher and that she could not be retained as a substitute due to licensing problems. Notably, said the court, no evidence was introduced to contradict Claimant’s testimony.

The Appellate Division, noting that the unemployment insurance handbook instructed Claimant otherwise, said that such instruction was understandably confusing in light of Claimant's past experience.

Accordingly, the court ruled that “under the particular circumstances presented, we find that the Board's decision is not supported by substantial evidence given that [Claimant] demonstrated good cause for her failure to comply with the registration requirements.”

* A temporary teacher’s eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits upon termination of his or her temporary employment depends on whether or not he or she has been given “a reasonable assurance of continued employment” within the meaning of Section 590.10 of the Labor Law.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_00270.htm
.

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