Q: If someone is fired for cause are they eligible for unemployment?
A: Unemployment insurance is a state administered benefit which provides former employees monetary payments for a specific period of time or until the employee finds a new job. If you quit or resigned from your job without good cause you are not entitled to unemployment insurance. You may also be disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance if you were terminated “for cause”, which includes workplace misconduct, such as fraud or theft.
However, there are situations where an employer may seek to challenge a former employee’s unemployment insurance application by alleging that he was terminated “for cause” even though he committed a minor infraction. If an employer seeks to deny you benefits by alleging you were terminated “for cause”, you have a right to a hearing before an administrative law judge at the New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”). The DOL may then determine that this minor infraction does not constitute a “for cause” termination and your benefits may be restored. Every situation is different and it’s important to remember that your employer and the DOL may have different standards for what constitutes a “for cause” termination. You can learn more by visiting the New York State Department of Labor website: http://www.labor.ny.gov/home/ or by speaking to an employment attorney.
Joni Haviva Kletter joined Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. in 2007 as an Associate of the Labor and Employment Law practice in the firm's New York City office. Ms. Kletter helps litigate numerous employment related claims and provides employment advice to employees, executives, professionals and companies. She has experience in cases involving discrimination, harassment, FMLA, misclassification, separation agreements, employment contracts, restrictive covenants and employee benefits. Ms. Kletter also advises employers on best practices and compliance issues, and provides anti-discrimination trainings.