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I am a speech language pathologist who was working for the

Belleville, NJ school district as...
I am a speech language pathologist who was working for the Belleville, NJ school district as a maternity leave replacement. My last day was June 25 and I have filed a claim for unemployment insurance. Upon completion, it was indicated that misconduct was the reason for termination.

In December 2012, I protested the loud and continuous Christmas music playing in the room next to me. The workers accused me of being anti Christian and complained to their senator. The superintendent indicated that if "I wasn't such a good therapist" I would have been terminated. Since I was not terminated but stayed until June 25, with only really good reviews, can I be denied unemployment insurance? What recourse do I have?
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6/26/2013
wallstreetfighter
wallstreetfighter, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,253
Experience: 14 years exp, General counsel for National Corp. firms, Hostos College instructor, Represented employees in discrimination lawsuits
Verified

wallstreetfighter :

Hello I am a licensed attorney here to help you with your question, please review my response and do not hesitate to ask for clarification

wallstreetfighter :

Under the law in NJ, you can only be denied unemployment benefits,

wallstreetfighter :

if your termination was for misconduct,

wallstreetfighter :

which in NJ is a heavy burden, for the employer to prove,

wallstreetfighter :

it seems to me that you were not terminated,and completed your time at the school,

wallstreetfighter :

so any denial of benefits would be difficult, since you did not quit,

wallstreetfighter :

and were not terminated.

wallstreetfighter :

Also, complaining about music, would not be misconduct,

wallstreetfighter :

under NJ law,

Customer:

Thank you. How can I protest this with unemployment so that my benefits do not get held up?

wallstreetfighter :

“Simple misconduct” (formerly “misconduct”) is defined as an act of wanton or willful disregard for the employer’s interest, or negligence as to manifest culpability, that does not rise to the level of severe or gross misconduct. This standard would appear to include insubordination, or lateness or absences without written warnings. A simple misconduct disqualification carries an eight-week (up from six week) disqualification. After the disqualification period ends, the individual is eligible to collect benefits.


The new “severe misconduct” standard expressly covers the following behaviors:



  • Excessive use of drugs/alcohol on work premises;

  • Repeated violations of a company rule;

  • Repeated lateness or absences after receiving a written warning;

  • Falsification of records;

  • Physical assaults or threats that do not constitute gross misconduct;

  • Destruction/theft of company property;

  • Misuse of sick time, benefits or abuse of leave; and/or

  • Behavior that is malicious and deliberate but not considered gross misconduct.


If an employee is discharged for severe misconduct, the individual is disqualified for benefits indefinitely until he or she works in new employment for four weeks, earns six times his or her weekly benefit amount and thereafter becomes separated through no fault of his or her own.

wallstreetfighter :

you should state that you were not terminated, and was laid off due to the school year ending, you would need to appeal the decision.

wallstreetfighter :

The law as shown above is strict,

wallstreetfighter :

the employer has the burden to prove this, and I would suggest retaining an attorney to represent your appeal, as you have a good case.

wallstreetfighter :

I would also threaten the school with a defamation lawsuit, for there baseless allegations against you,

wallstreetfighter :

which may hurt your future job prospects.

wallstreetfighter :

You can find a list of unemployment benefits attorneys at the link above.,

wallstreetfighter :

I do not see any misconduct in your case,

wallstreetfighter :

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.

wallstreetfighter :

Also, if you were denied benefits,

wallstreetfighter :

make sure you file an appeal as soon as possible,

wallstreetfighter :

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.

wallstreetfighter :

If satisfied with our service please provide us with positive feedback.

Customer:

Should I contact the school superintendent? While I don't want to create an adversarial situation, if I am going to be denied benefits

wallstreetfighter :

Yes, it would be best to send them a letter stating that you will consider all legal options including a defamation case, if they try to deny you benefits.

wallstreetfighter :

However, if you appeal your denial, the employer will have the burden to prove you were actually terminated for misconduct,

wallstreetfighter :

Which is difficult for them especially if they let you finish the school year.

Customer:

I haven't actually been denied yet, but since misconduct was indicated as an issue, I assume that this will happen. I was given a date in July to discuss this but I don't want to wait that long. How can I appeal it now?

wallstreetfighter :

You can only appeal if denied, they have not made a decision yet,

Customer:

Are you still there?

wallstreetfighter :

What you can do is threaten legal action

Customer:

Threaten legal action against my employer?

wallstreetfighter :

with a letter to the school district, and they may notify the unemployment office, that they will not try to claim misconduct.

wallstreetfighter :

Yes, a defamation case, if they are claiming you were terminated for misconduct, and you were not,

wallstreetfighter :

that would hurt your reputation, and potential future employment,

Customer:

Thank you very much. I will follow up on what you said.

Customer:

Can I print this out?

wallstreetfighter :

Good luck,

wallstreetfighter :

yes, once you provide feedback, the entire conversation can be saved and printed for your use.

wallstreetfighter
wallstreetfighter, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,253
Experience: 14 years exp, General counsel for National Corp. firms, Hostos College instructor, Represented employees in discrimination lawsuits
Verified
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wallstreetfighter
wallstreetfighter
wallstreetfighter, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,253
17,253 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 14 years exp, General counsel for National Corp. firms, Hostos College instructor, Represented employees in discrimination lawsuits

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