NJ: Unemployment Benefits Ruling

The New Jersey Appellate Court recently issued a decision that better defines unemployment benefit rights for “certain employees who voluntarily resign from their positions in the face of imminent employment termination”.

JD Supra outlines the case brought before the Appellate Court as follows:

Cottman worked as a group home consultant and was a mother of three special needs children younger than thirteen years old. On one occasion, Cottman’s babysitting arrangements fell through and she was faced with the prospect of either missing her shift or leaving her children unattended. After attempting unsuccessfully to find a colleague to cover her shift, she explained to the supervisor her situation. The supervisor replied that if she did not come in for her shift, “you might be fired. I wouldn’t play with your time.” Feeling that she did not have the option of leaving her children, Cottman resigned rather than be terminated in accordance with her supervisor’s threat.

Before the decision, employees who voluntarily quit would not have been eligible to receive unemployment benefits, however the court’s ruling leaves more room for interpretation.

Employers are advised to review their current practices regarding communicating policies on termination and benefits.

For more on the regulations, please click here.

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