Denied my Appeal of Benefits for "VOLUNTARILY LEAVING JOB"

by Dave
(NJ)

Hi, I was initially denied unemployment benefits for what they considered "VOLUNTARILY LEAVING JOB". I actually was terminated from my job for losing my drivers license. I could understand getting a 6 week penalty for misconduct but i definitely did not quit my job. I didn't get into the whole sob story of what happened with my license at the the appeal hearing because i thought it would be better to stick to the facts because i was only trying to prove that i did not quit and was in fact fired. I got pulled over in a drinking and driving incident on the night that i learned that my father was terminally ill. Over the next 4 months I tried despererately to find another job within my company that didn't require driving while caring for my father. there are hundreds of inside position in the multi-billion dollar company i worked for. i informed management immediately and told them i would take anything they had for me. this was all done before i lost my license. then on April 8, 2009 i finally went to court and lost my license. on April 9 my father passed away. I was employeed with the company for 13 yrs. and have worked on the books paying into UI for 17 yrs, since i was a teenager and never collected once. company policy says that if your job title requires you to drive and you lose your license you will be put on a departmental leave of absense where the company will look for a job for you with-in the company in that time. if a position is not found after 30 days you will be removed from the payroll. I sent in my letter of "termination" as evidence, but the appeal examiner still concluded that i left voluntarily. I did everything i could to remain employeed with the company. Also, the company never even disputed me collecting, it is just the state's interpretation. Is it worth trying to appeal higher up to the board of review? Thank you for your time.




Answer
Would you care to share the exact language and "reasoning" from the decision?

Because I'm trying to figure out what the reasoning was to find a voluntary quit was actually the case when you presented a termination letter. I suspect what the reasoning might be, but given that you also presented company policy which provides a way to stay employed if something like this happens ... I would argue.

So Yes, without knowing more .. I think you should appeal to the board of review .. since NJ requires you to return to work and earn 6 times your WBA in addition to serving the 6 weeks when you quit .. unlike a discharge which only requires the 6 weeks to be served.

And I always suggest at least talking to an attorney when appealing a hearing decision to the board of review .. so it's as worthy as it can possibly be.

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Feb 14, 2011
voluntary quit
by: Anonymous

I have a question. If I tried to get a transfer to follow my fiance, which was signed off by the VP of my department, and it didn't go through, wouldn't I get unemployment after having given notice many months ahead of time to try to get a transfer? But because there was no openings I didn't get the transfer. I had to quit.
It just doesn't make sense to me that I would have gotten unemployment if I made by boss so upset she would fire me, or that I actually have favor with my last company and left on good terms to have better odds of finding a job? Why is that looked down upon, and why does that disqualify me for unemployment benefits?





Hi,

The issue of following a spouse to a new location and whether it is good cause or not is dependent upon the state unemployment laws. And, I might add, whether a "fiance" will work or not is additionally state specific.

Where a quit to follow is not a possibility and the quit must be connected to the work .. the ability to request a transfer .. might make the quit attributable to the employer .. if the employer failed to follow their own transfer policy or apply a different interpretation of it .. just in your case.

And your assumption that leaving on good terms should be rewarded .. is contrary to the purpose of unemployment.

Unemployment is for when you lose a job, through no fault of your own for a reason connected with the work ..

For personal reasons to quit, to be with good cause .. you need a provision to create an exception to the usual rules that everything must be "attributable to the work" .. or employer itself.

Jan 21, 2011
they say i quit and then they fired me
by: debbie riley

i was a whistle blower on medicare fraud corp said kentucky has laWS For that i wouldnt be retailated toward when bosses came back from susp.but the first hour my administrater retailated toward me in a meeting in front of 16 other workers they say i quit i left went to lawyers and i lost my first appeal omg how crazy is that...i would of never quit but i will not let her treat me so bad i only stood up for the residents of the nursing home and us tax payers...

Jun 12, 2010
Kind of the same situation-VQ
by: cincy300

Hey Dave,
I was searching and searching for help on the web and found your questions and comments. Your last post was April. I'm wondering if there has been any change. Have you heard anything else?
I am going through "some what" of the same thing however, I have only been working for this company for 4 years. I have had numerous problems with my license over the years and have held the same position without license and utilized my feet and other co-workers to get around when needed. April 9 my license were suspended for 90 days. On May 17, I was offered a new position and I told them about my license then. The next day my supervisor brought me a document to sign stating I would not drive during works hours for them. The next day I (at the end of the day) I was terminated. Then obviously denied unemployment. I have appealed it and have numerous people willing to write letters for stating that I they drove me or were also allowed to work while their license were suspended. However, reading your situation has me scared to death!
Hope things are working out for you!


Apr 09, 2010
Answer to question
by: Dave

well my initial appeal was denied, and i am yet to hear anything from the board of review. when i called their office they actually said that it could take up to 6 months, thats after i waited 3 months for the initial appeal. But, I am not too confident the board of review is going to see things my way anyway, from what i hear they rarely do. In fact, I got a letter stating I am not even guaranteed another hearing. They can either (a) agree with the appeal decision, (b) reverse the appeal decision, or (c) schedule another hearing.

Apr 08, 2010
Loss of License
by: Anonymous

How did your appeal go? Did you finally get your unemployment?



Feb 09, 2010
part-time work
by: Dave

Hi,

sorry to keep bugging you, but I have another question. since it was determined that I voluntarily left, which you know i disagree with, in NJ the requirement is that you earn 6 times your weekly benefit rate to qualify. If you took a job that is considered part-time or temporary (ex: census taker) and got laid off for lack of work after, can I still collect my maximum benefits from my previous job. And how long do they go back to your highest rate of pay. I think its a year, but i've also heard 18 months.

Thanks Again,
Dave


Hi Dave,

If you incur the VQ disqualification and find more work and purge that need to earn 6 times your WBA, but are laid off before the end of your benefit year .. they would still be using the same base period of wages. If there were less than 26 weeks left in your benefits year .. then you wouldn't be able to collect them all, but with the onset of unprecedented extensions .. I get a little foggy about what you could expect next.

The base period for any benefit year and how the wages in that base determine the amount of the WBA is a state specific formula, but most base the WBA on a percentage of your "high quarter wages", yet most still require that you have a specific percentage of your HQW in yet another quarter elsewhere in the base period.

In addition there is usually specific requirements for establishing a second benefit year which are less that the first year. This is because the standard base period can create a "lag period" of 6 months of wages that aren't considered and God forbid anyone be able to establish a 2nd benefit year without proving they have an attachment to the labor force by at least returning to work subsequent to first becoming unemployed.

Damn Dave, you're asking me monetary questions under appeals .. and monetary questions give me a headache because I can't seem to get the hang of just giving simple one line answers .. because I have all this crap stuffed inside my head which leads to something else to consider.

Okay, I've settled down now and will try to shorten this up.

If you take a job and then are laid off and you still have a benefit year that hasn't expired .. you will have purged the voluntary quit disqualification and will then be able to start collecting the WBA that your originally monetary determination said you were entitled to .. if otherwise eligible.

Did I answer you? Please say yes:))

Jan 24, 2010
Lost Licence
by: Dave

Hi,
I wasn't saying at all that i paid into those benefits with the idea that i would someday purposely become unemployed to receive that money. But i was under the impression that i was paying into them so that in case i ran into some hard times and became unemployed, i could get some help to get back on my feet. I am a honest person and a hard worker and always have been. I will try to appeal again, hopefully it won't take another 3 months, because at this point I'm about to lose my house and everything else. Thank you so much for all of your input and advice. I really appreciate it.
Dave


Dave,

No way was I saying you became purposely unemployed to get benefits .. I was just saying that a lot of people actually think they've been paying into something in case they need benefits due to a job loss that wasn't their fault only to find out that the unemployment system doesn't quite work the way they thought .. there's plenty of misconception out there about how it works.


Jan 23, 2010
Lost Licence
by: Dave

You are exactly right about the getting desperate part. Right now there is nothing out there coming even close to what i was earning and especially without a license. Thank you for clearing up my confusion on whether or not they would make up the difference, because if that were the case i would gladly just go take any old job i could get to get back on my feet. But, at this point i've had 0 income for 4 months and they took over 3 months to get to my first appeal. It is such a shame because I know of so many people that abuse the system and collect while they are working off the books and have only paid into UI for a short time. I paid into it for 17 years without lapse and never collected once and just need some temporary relief to get back on my feet again. Does the second appeal usually take as long? Thanks again for your input, you've been very helpful.
Dave


Hi Dave,

Just a sidenote because I don't want anyone getting the idea that they pay into anything for the possibility to collect unemployment.

There are three states only that may collect something from an employee and NJ might be one of them, but it's because you have an unemployment program which allows for benefits if you're not able and available to work because of a health issue. Most states have nothing like this.

I have no idea how long the second appeal will take.

Because of the unprecedented amount of unemployed people .. they're busy.

Before this recession a "timely" amount of time one would give the dept. to complete any part of the process was 30 days.

I would expect my claim to be determined in thirty days.

I would expect my appeal hearing to be scheduled and concluded within thirty days of my appeal.

I would expect the board of review to do the same.

But now days all bets seem to be off.

Jan 21, 2010
Lost Licence
by: Dave

The language just states that i was disqualified for benefits under NJSA 43:21-5 as he left voluntarily and without good cause attributable to the work. I was really confused about that myself. I also had my union chief steward as a witness that vouched for me saying that i was doing everything in my power to remain employeed by the company and he sent her the company policy stating that they would search for a job for me. She called me the day after the interview to ask me if I had the letter from the company stating that they searched for a job and could not find one and therefore i was terminated. I got that to her immediately. I thought she was trying to help me out, but i guess she was using that to hang me.

Also with this earning 6 times your weekly benefits part, Im a bit unclear on that. Does that mean if after i've earned 6 times my weekely benefit amount I remain employeed but am making less than what my weekly benenfit would be, the state would make up the difference, or does it just mean in order to get benefits i would have to be laid off from that job. I obviously could not quit.

thanks again


The disqualification for a separation decided to be a voluntary quit means you must return to work and earn 6 times the WBA which was first determined you would receive if eligible.

And you did hit the nail on the head .. once someone returns to work .. who quits? They would not make up the difference if you earn less .. they would just free up the wage credits from the last disqualification if a subsequent separation is qualifying.

That's why I would appeal. It's advantageous to the state of NJ's fund if you voluntarily quit vs. being discharged because if it was found that you were fired with good cause the disqualification doesn't require you to earn anything to purge it .. you just have to serve the 6 weeks.

Someone in the position of having to take care of a VQ disqualification .. might become desperate and take any old job that comes along .. just to meet this condition .. That could be a mistake.
People may take unsuitable work and either quit .. or more likely get fired because the job was outside their experience and or training.

They then may have an additional issue to deal with aside from the usual VQ or MC determination like "refusal of suitable work" OR proving why the work was unsuitable to them.

As far as the lost license. Some states do consider doing something that you should have known would be detrimental to your job as being good cause to discharge, but in your case I would take exception .. given the contract .. that it was a voluntary quit.

Find a lawyer and appeal.

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