Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Teacher seeking unemployment insurance benefits between school years found ineligible to receive benefits because she had a reasonable assurance of continued employment


Teacher seeking unemployment insurance benefits between school years found ineligible to receive benefits because she had a reasonable assurance of continued employment
Matter of Vazquez (Commissioner of Labor), 2015 NY Slip Op 08234, Appellate Division, Third Department

Ana M. Vazquez worked as a substitute teacher for the New York City Department of Education (DOE) during the 2013-2014 academic school year. Prior to the close of the academic school year DOE notified Vazquez, in writing, that it anticipated the same need for substitute teachers going forward into the 2014-2015 academic school year and that the terms and conditions of her employment would remain substantially the same.

Vazquez, after confirming that she received this letter, applied for unemployment insurance benefits. The Department of Labor found that she was ineligible to receive such benefits because she had received a reasonable assurance of continued employment during the 2014-2015 academic year. This determination of ineligibility was sustained by an Administrative Law Judge [ALJ]  following a hearing and later by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. Vazquez appealed the Board’s determination.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Board’s ruling, noting that Labor Law §590(10), bars professionals who are employed by educational institutions from receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the period between two successive academic periods if they have received a reasonable assurance of continued employment*.

The court said that in the course of the administrative hearing before the ALJ DOE’s representative stated that Vazquez had worked 169 out of a total of 180 days during the 2013-2014 academic school year at a rate of $154.97 per day and indicated that Vazquez’s per diem rate would be $158.09 during the 2014-2015 academic school year. DOE’s representative also indicated that he anticipated that Vazquez would receive the same amount of work during the 2014-2015 academic school year because the DOE was not under any budgetary constraints.

The Appellate Division concluded that DOE correspondence to Vazquez advising her of the continued need for substitute teachers during the 2014-2015 academic year on substantially the same economic terms and conditions that were offered the year before constituted “substantial evidence” supporting the Board's conclusion that Vazquez had received a reasonable assurance of continued employment and was, therefore, ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits between the two school years.

* "A reasonable assurance of continued employment" has been interpreted to have been satisfied by  a representation by the employer that substantially the same economic terms and conditions will continue to apply to the extent that the claimant would receive at least 90% of the earnings received during the first academic period during the second academic year.

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:

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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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