My employment position was eliminated on January 4th. The employer and employment and my residence is all in the State of Connecticut. I was offered a severance package which I accepted.Under severance benefits, my previous employer structured the one lump payment as "monthly salary thru the month of April, 2012 net of normal payroll deductions, taxes. etc. My acceptance of this lump sum paid out on January 24, 2012 was all predicated on me accepting their offer. Never once was it verbally represented that this was anything but a one time pay out which if accepted, would exclude me from CT. unemployment compensation.I filed for Unemployment Benefits January 5, 2012. I have been receiving weekly compensation from CT. Unemployment.On February 27,2012, I received a Notice to Claimant Hearing for March 7, 2012. My previous employer is now protesting my unemployment benefits stating "claimant was paid "x amount" of severance for the period of January 2012 thru April 2012. Question: Under the laws of CT. unemployment, am I still eligible for unemployment benefits despite the receipt of a one lump sum severance fee that was predicated on me signing their Separation Agreement?I am not presently employed. Although I am actively seeking employment.Can you advise?
State/Country relating to Question: Connecticut
the legal system is a maze. And since I did not receive the notice until this past Tuesday, and the hearing is scheduled March 7th, I need some insight quickly.
Can you guide me?
Hello,You will not be denied benefits in total but may have them either delayed or decreased for a short period of time depending on what the Department determines was the purpose of the severance pay. If you receive Severance in lieu of notice and it is for future wages, then that would result in a delay or offset from UI benefits for that period of time. However, if the State determines that the main reason for the severance was to provide consideration in exchange for a waiver of legal claims, then there will be no delay or offset. So, this is going to be very fact specific. The employer has really sort of mucked things up for themselves by paying this as a lump sum versus out over the pay periods that they apparently intended to cover. So, in that sense, along with the fact that you signed a severance agreement, the facts should lean your way. However, the affirmative statement that this was wages for a particular period of time, works against you. There is no way to say with certainty what the State will do, however, you ultimately won't completely lose all of your UI benefits, even if they do find with the employer, which I doubt. You can see the State's handbook, which briefly touches on this issue at: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/progsupt/unemplt/claimant-guide/uc-288.pdf
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Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Thank you Marsha:
I spoke with Unemployment yesterday. Siting that I was recruited away from Houston, TX (energy corridor) and move up to the Northeast along with my daughter to help pilot this new endeavor for the company. I am a single mother who is 61 years of ago.
The company actually gave me a raise in pay only 2 weeks prior to my Termination. And never gave me an explanation other than they had decided to exit that business line. And oh, here's a lump sum package.
My question now then is "how" best to present this at the Hearing including all factual information you have in front of you.? Do you think I may need legal representation?
You're welcome. From what you say, the issue of why you were let go is not an issue, so really that isn't relevant to the reason why you are going to have this hearing. The one and only issue is what was the purpose of the severance payment. If it was to gain your signature on the legal waiver, then it isn't considered pay in lieu of notice that would essentially extend your employment to April 2012. Of course, as I mentioned there are facts both in your favor and against you. You will want to stress those facts in your favor. That is that as far as you knew this was a lump sum severance being paid in exchange for your signature on the release. That simple. They will then likely state that the other language "monthly salary thru the month of April, 2012 net of normal payroll deductions, taxes. etc." should control. Really just a matter of interpretation by the Hearing Officer. You are entitled to have an attorney represent you if you can find one who is available and experienced with unemployment appeals that you feel confident can do more than you can here. However, many claimants also do this on their own.
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