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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20223
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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As a non tenured teacher with 25 years of service my contract

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As a non tenured teacher with 25 years of service my contract was not renewed for the upcoming school year. One supervisor didn't think I was a good fit in the last school where I was reassigned to working with nonverbal autistic population. In the prior two years at the same district I received favorable evaluations. I retired rather than search for a job at 55 so that I can be assured some income and benefits for my children. I was not planning on retiring and only made the decision following the non-renewal of my contract. Am I eligible to collect unemployment benefits in NJ?

Thank you for the information and your question. Can you tell me why you think the Unemployment Office might think you were not renewed because of "misconduct?" Was there is any write up or was the only thing said to you was "not a good fit?" Are you paid a monthly pension now, or will that come later at regular retirement age?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

When completing the claim form there are only a few option to select for reason separation from employer. Laid off - seasonal work, position no longer available, fired/dischared. I checked off fired/dischared, but indicated in the drop down box that as a non-tenured staff member my contract was not renewed. I had no performance related issues--no excessive absences/lateness, misconduct, etc. I didn't feel that unemployment claim form allowed me appropriately detail reason for non-renewal.

I had four evaluation from three administrators--two from two evaluatators were favorable. One administrator's evaluation was skewed. After receiving a favorable evaluation following her negative evaluation she wanted to do a fourth evaluation. In effect, she wanted to write another unfavorable evaluation. She indicated areas of concern as my skills with the nonverbal population.

I haven't yet started receiving pension checks. My retirement was effective 7-1-13 and my first check is scheduled for August first. With 25 years of service and age of 55, school employees can retire early.

Hello again and thank you for that additional information, it was helpful. In terms of qualifying for unemployment benefits, you should have no problem since you were let go without cause. "Not fitting in" is not "cause" or misconduct, which are what is required to deny UI benefits entirely. Of course, you would still have to be able and available and actively seeking employment, but the reason for your termination (nonrenewal of contract) is not disqualifying. Even if your former employer disputed your eligibility trying to say that you were nonrenewed for cause, it would be their burden of proof upon appeal to show that you intentionally, or through gross negligence, failed to perform your duties properly. That does not sound like that will be the case.

The other issue is your pension benefits. That is a little more complicated. In NJ, there is a deduction from benefits for many pension recipients. The amount of deduction depends on the pension itself. If your employer was solely responsible for your pension contributions, then the State would deduct 100% of your weekly calculated pension benefit from your UI benefits. However, if you contributed to your pension, the deduction would only be 50%. You can see much more detail, explanation, and examples, by going to:

Please let me know if you have any related follow up questions. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Marsha411JD and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much. Your opinion is in line with what I found through my own internet research.

You're welcome and best of luck to you!