Tag Archives: Unemployment benefits

Immigrant without valid work permit cannot collect unemployment

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This case from March 30, 2009 illustrates New Jersey’s rule that an immigrant who does not have a valid green card or work permit while employed is ineligible for unemployment benefits.

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division denied unemployment benefits to a Polish immigrant, despite the fact that he had worked in New Jersey.  The claimant entered the U.S. in 1995 on a tourist visa and had a work permit from 2002 to 2003.  He said that he had already bee working for a few years by the time he got his work permit in 2002.

Then in 2006, after his work permit had expired, the claimant got another job, from which he was laid off in February 2007.  This was the employment from which he tried to claim unemployment benefits.  He did not get another work permit until May 2007.

Unfortunately, the claimant could not be eleigible for unemployment benefits since he did not hold a valid work permit while he was employed.  His pleas of ignorance of the English language as a reason for failing to renew the work permit fell on deaf ears.

The lesson in this decision is simple:  Immigrants must have a valid green card or work permit in place while they are working in New Jersey if they want to be able to claim unemployment benefits when needed.

The decision is here:  Cieslewicz v. Board of Review, et al. Docket No. A-2120-07T1 (March 30, 2009).

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Quitting due to mental stress from job not enough for unemployment benefits

Yesterday the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, decided a case involving an employee who voluntarily quit her job due to work-related stress and was then turned down for unemployment benefits.

The employee worked as a claims adjuster until May 2007, when she quit. Two months earlier, her job duties had increased because a co-worker went out on disability.

She argued that she left work because of mental health issues that began when her mother died and that worsened with her work-related stress. Both the Appeal Tribunal and the Board of Review found that she left without good cause attributable to her work and that as a result, she could not qualify for unemployment benefits. the test for whether a decision to quit work constitutes good cause is one of ordinary good sense and prudence.

Under the law, the employee needs to do whatever is necessary and reasonable to stay employed.

To show that a pre-existing medical condition was aggravated by a workplace situation, the claimant must show competent medical evidence as to that assertion. The evidence must be more than an equivocal statement.

In this case, the claimant presented evidence of an ER visit two years before she left work in which she told the nurse that she had stress at work and she had thoughts of killing her boss.  In addition, the ER records reflected her complaints about financial and housing problems.

The court pointed out that the employee stayed in her job for two years after her ER visit, which damaged her contention that it was the work-related stress that made her quit work.

The Appellate Division agreed with the Appeal Tribunal and the Board of Review and concluded that the employee was not eligible for unemployment benefits since she left work without good cause attributable to her work.

Goodman v. Board of Review, et al., Docket No. A-1260-07T2 (Sup. Ct. Nj, App. Div 2008)

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New Jersey extends unemployment benefits a second time since July 2008

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According to a press release dated 11/24/08, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is notifying unemployed workers of an unemployment benefits extension for workers whose benefits run out without having found a job.

The State of New Jersey is mailing letters to about 65,000 people, notifying them of this extension in unemployment benefits. Funding for the extension comes from the federal Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2008 enacted on November 21. This is the second federally-funded extension of unemployment benefits since July 2008.

Up to seven additional weeks of benefits are available under the new federal law, beginning 11/23/08. The benefits will not be retroactive.

People who are currently on unemployment should automatically qualify for extended benefits without having to file a separate application. Those whose benefits have already run out and who may be eligible for the extended benefits should receive instructions from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development on how to claim the extended benefits.

The current unemployment rate in New Jersey is 6.0 percent, which is below the national 6.5 percent rate, according to the Department’s press release.

You can find the press release here:  Notice of Additional Extended Unemployment Benefits Announced

Update: For information on your own unemployment claim or for general questions about unemployment, there is a list of phone numbers on the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development website. Check it out.

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