Already had phone interview and won unemployment. Now ex-employer is appealing. Do I have a case?
I am in the state of NJ.
I went on state temporary disability in June for a chronic illness. My employers were made aware and we kept in constant contact. They got me set up with disability through the state with the proper forms.
In August, I was notified that my employment was terminated as per the employee manual in regards to disability (not due to performance or gross misconduct). I was given UI paperwork for when my disability had ended.
Received an e-mail from ex-boss in early December asking what my plan for work was once my disability had ended. I advised them that I was still on disability and that returning to that company would be detrimental to my health because of the stress. I had already been terminated and didn't feel that I should have to go back to a place that was such a hostile environment. My illness created cognitive issues and I would not be functioning the way I was prior to going on disability and explained that to them. They stated that they understood and to call if I wanted to do freelance work for them.
My disability claim ended 12/29 and I filed my unemployment claim, which became effective as of 1/3/10. I received a notice of a claims examiner phone interview to be held on 2/1, after I'd already been approved for UI and had received 2 checks for refusing suitable work. The phone interview went well and it was not only conclusive that returning
there was not suitable work, but would be detrimental to my overall health and well-being. They approved my benefits and I've been looking for other jobs and collecting since 1/3. Mind you, the claims examiner asked my ex-boss if as of 2/1, my position was still available and she responded that it was not and they had offered it to someone else since December (when I was still disabled).
I received a letter in the mail earlier this week stating that my ex-employer was appealing their determination. What do you think my chances are in this situation? I truly feel as though they are now doing it to be spiteful.
I believe your chances of retaining benefits is good because you established with the department a refusal was with good cause due to the type of work and your current medical limitations.
Additionally, if that job they offered was filled by the time you were released to work .. I don't think the employer would have a case because they can't prove a refusal or offer of work once you became available, but they might try using that phone call where they offered you freelance work, which is not an offer of employment, but self-employment meaning it isn't the sort of employment considered covered by unemployment insurance.
Additionally, that offer in December would be a hard thing for an employer to prove as a firm offer of "suitable work" to support there is any merit for a denial based upon a refusal