One sure way to mess up your unemployment claim…

…starts before you ever separate from your employer.

If you want to be able to collect unemployment benefits, at least in New Jersey, you should not voluntarily resign from your employment. A shining example is provided in a recent decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division, in which an employee appealed her disqualification from benefits because she “left voluntarily and without good cause attributable to the work.”

After a business meeting, the employer asked the employee to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine her fitness for the job. She had the evaluation and was determined fit for duty. But she also asked the Human Resources Department for a severance package based on her belief that she was bullied during the business meeting and subjected to a discriminatory and hostile work environment. She felt that her supervisor was going to fire her. But the employee initiated the separation process. No one asked her to resign.

Therein lies the rub. No one asked her to resign, and yet she initiated the separation process. Hence, the denial of unemployment benefits was proper.

Hetherington v. Board of Review, et al.

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