Certain compensation paid to employees may be excluded in determine unemployment insurance benefits
2015 NY Slip Op 04552, Appellate Division, Third Department
A claimant [Worker] for unemployment insurance benefits challenged a decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board [Labor] holding that certain remuneration that claimant earned could not be used to establish entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits.
Worker, who had worked for multiple employers, filed for unemployment insurance benefits. During her base period, Worker’s employment included services performed as an election poll worker for the New York City Board of Elections.
Labor determined that Worker was entitled to unemployment insurance benefits, but that the remuneration received from the Board of Elections could not be considered in establishing her benefit rate because it did not constitute “covered employment.”
Worker had testified that she had responded to a card received in the mail from the Board of Elections asking if she was available to work on Election Day. She responded that she was available and subsequently received training. Worker was subsequently assigned to a polling place, where she worked as a poll worker or inspector on Election Day performing such duties as setting up and overseeing tables, signing in voters and instructing them on the use of the voting machines, keeping track of voting cards and printing a tally of votes at the end of the day, which were then reported to the Board of Elections.
The Appellate Division sustained the Board’s determination, noting that poll clerks, like election inspectors, are appointed, trained, compensated and perform duties as mandated by statute and overseen by the New York State Board of Elections.
Such individuals serving at polling places in New York City are compensated at a per diem rate established by the Mayor. Although the Board of Elections may have exercised some supervision over the poll workers and their training pursuant to the relevant, the Appellate Division said that “this is insufficient, by itself, to establish an employer-employee relationship, and the record is devoid of any proof that any such supervision exercised exceeded that required by law, or that additional duties or requirements were imposed beyond those provided by statute.”
The court also rejected Worker’s contention that she should have been deemed to be an employee “because taxes were withheld from her paycheck pursuant to a ruling by the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] that poll workers are considered employees for federal tax purposes” as such rulings by the IRS are not binding on the Board.
Finding that substantial evidence supported the Board's determination, the Appellate Division said that it would not be disturbed.
The decision is posted on the Internet at: