Unemployment Benefit Denial to Resigning Employee Affirmed, Notwithstanding Hostile Work Environment Allegation

In Matter of Davis, No. 521825, 2017 NY Slip Op 01920, 2017 WL 1013161 (N.Y. App. Div. 3d Dept. Mar. 16, 2017), the court affirmed an Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board determination that the claimant was disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits because she voluntarily left her employment without good cause.

The court summarized the facts/procedure as follows:

Claimant worked as a workforce development specialist for a construction company for a little over a year. During this time, she became dissatisfied with various aspects of her job, including the longer commute occasioned by a temporary change in her work location, the expansion of her job responsibilities and her supervisor’s criticism of her work performance. In addition, claimant had conflicts with a coworker and believed that she was the target of harassment and discrimination by her supervisor. She filed a grievance claiming that she was subject to a hostile work environment and then resigned from her position two weeks later.

In upholding the Board’s decision, the court explained:

[D]issatisfaction with one’s job responsibilities, work environment or length of commute do not constitute good cause for leaving one’s employment. Likewise, the inability to get along with a coworker or the criticism of a supervisor have also not been deemed good cause. Inasmuch as the foregoing factors contributed to claimant’s decision to resign, she is not entitled to benefits. Notably, claimant’s allegations of harassment and discrimination were refuted by testimony adduced at the hearing, and this presented a credibility issue for the Board to resolve.

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