Can My Employer Deny Me Unemployment Benefits?

employer holding paycheck

Unemployment benefits offer temporary relief for individuals who lose their jobs by no fault of their own. So if you are denied unemployment benefits, you may wonder whether it is because you do not fall under New York law’s criteria or if your employer illegally did so. Continue reading to learn what circumstances allow your employer to lawfully deny you unemployment benefits and how an experienced New York employee rights lawyer at Bell Law Group can work on your behalf.

How can my employer lawfully deny me unemployment benefits?

Firstly, if you quit your job without good cause, or if you lost your job because of misconduct, your employer can lawfully disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits. Below are some other ways in which you can be denied these benefits:

  • You are not completely unemployed: that is, you have worked while receiving unemployment benefits but you have not reported it. With this, you may even have to pay back the money you received while working, along with a penalty.
  • You are not actively pursuing new employment: that is, you have not participated in the proper work search efforts or have otherwise falsely recorded your work search efforts.
  • You are not available or capable of new employment: that is, you can only receive unemployment benefits if you prove that you are mentally and physically ready, willing, and able to work and you are actively pursuing new employment.
  • You are not accepting new employment: that is, you have received a job offer that you are well qualified for, but you deny it without good cause.
  • You are unemployed due to a strike or industry controversy: that is, your unemployment benefits will be suspended for 14 days or until the strike or industry controversy has ended, and this is regardless of whether you were directly involved in the strike or industry controversy.
  • You are unemployed due to criminal misconduct: that is, you committed a felony related to your employment, or you were otherwise convicted of a crime.

What should I do if I am illegally denied unemployment benefits?

In the event that you are denied benefits, a Notice of Determination will be mailed to you. If you believe the notice’s reasons as to why you were denied to be untrue, then you may be eligible to file for a hearing. Importantly, you must file for a hearing within 30 days of receiving the Notice of Determination.

For your hearing, you must present evidence to the judge that proves that your employer illegally denied you your unemployment benefits. Such evidence may include the following:

  • The documents you received from the Department of Labor.
  • Your employment contracts.
  • Your employment letters.
  • Your employee handbooks or manuals.
  • Your past pay stubs.
  • Your medical documents and doctor’s notes.
  • Any relevant photographs or videos.
  • Any relevant witnesses you can testify for your position.

For assistance with your hearing, you should hire a skilled New York employee rights lawyer. Contact us today.

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