April 15, 2020

Educator ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits between semesters after being assured of continued employment for the next semester


§590(10) of New York State's Labor Law provides that "professionals who are employed by educational institutions are precluded from receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the period between two successive academic periods if they have received a reasonable assurance of continued employment."

A part-time adjunct instructor [Claimant] at community college [Employer], received a letter informing him that it had scheduled him to teach during the fall semester, noting that the schedule was "dependent on anticipated student enrollment." The letter also advised Claimant that "[i]f for any reason your course(s) has to be eliminated, you will be notified by the Department Chair."

In June Claimant filed an application for unemployment insurance benefits.* The Department of Labor issued an initial determination finding that Claimant was ineligible to receive benefits because Employer had informed him that continuing work was available during the next academic year. Ultimately the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board reversed this decision and found that Claimant was entitled to receive benefits because Employer "had not provided [Claimant] with a reasonable assurance of continued employment." Employer appealed the Board's ruling.

The Appellate Division noted that record indicated that Claimant taught three courses, consisting of nine credit hours, for the spring semester and earned approximately $10,766.79, an amount determined by the collective bargaining agreement in effect between the Employer and Claimant's union and that during the Spring semester Employer posted its fall course schedule online, listing Claimant as again being the instructor for three courses, also totaling nine credit hours.

Finding that the record showed that Claimant received a reasonable assurance of continued employment for the fall semester sufficient to show that that he was ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits, the Appellate Division ruled that the  Board's decision "must be reversed"

* In completing a Department of Labor questionnaire, in response to the question "[h]ave you been informed by the educational institution shown above that you will or may be working for them on a regular or substitute basis following the academic break," Claimant answered "yes," indicated that the offered position was that of adjunct instructor, that the dates of employment were from August to December and that he would be compensated at the "same rate of pay from [the] previous term."

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


CAUTION

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material in this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor members of the staff are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to seek such advice from a competent professional.