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Two Recent Unemployment Appeals Dismissed for Late Filing Without Good Cause

Two recent unpublished unemployment benefits decisions remind New Jersey unemployment benefit applicants that they will be prohibited from appealing of their unemployment decision if they do not file their appeal timely and without good cause.

In the matter of Alvarez v. Board of Review an Advanced Automotive, Inc., the Appellate Division affirmed the Board of Review’s decision holding an employee ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits on the ground that his appeal was filed untimely. In this case, the employee received a Notice of Determination that identified the date of mailing as April 19, 2010. The Notice of Determination further stated that the employee was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because he failed to work the available hours provided to him by his employer. On May 4, 2010, the employee filed his appeal. In the telephone hearing with the Appeal Tribunal, the employee admitted that received the Notice of Determination two or three days after the mailing date and that he did not file his appeal within the ten day time period because he did not speak English and had to find someone to write him his appeal letter in English. In upholding the Board of Review’s decision, the Appellate Division held that the employee failed to show that his untimely appeal was for “good cause.” N.J.A.C. 12:20-3.1(i) reads that good cause for an untimely filing of an appeal for unemployment benefits will only be found if 1) “The delay in filing the appeal was due to circumstances beyond the control of the appellant”; or 2) “The appellant delayed filing the appeal for circumstances which could not have been reasonably foreseen or prevented.” Because the employee failed to argue that his untimely appeal was caused by one of these two circumstances, the Appellate Division dismissed his appeal without addressing the substantive merits of the employee’s appeal.

In the matter of Waites v. Board of Review, the Appellate Division also affirmed a Board of Review’s decision to disqualify an employee’s appeal of unemployment benefits because the appeal was not filed timely. In this case, the employee received a Notice of Determination that identified the date of mailing as July 22, 2010. The Notice of Determination disqualified the employee from receiving unemployment benefits because the employee left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. Consistent with N.J.S.A. 43:21-6(c), the employee therefore had to file her appeal before August 1, 2010. The employee’s appeal was postmarked August 10, 2010 and her letter of appeal did not address any good cause reasons for the late filing. Because she failed to present any argument or facts showing why the appeal was filed late, the Appellate Division affirmed the Board of Review’s decision without addressing any of the substantive arguments made by the employee that she did not leave work voluntarily.

Both of these cases show that the New Jersey Department of Labor and the Appellate Division are strictly enforcing the law requiring applicants to file their unemployment appeals within ten (10) days of date of mailing of the Notice of Determination. The lesson here is that if you cannot file an appeal within this time period, you better set forth the reasons why the appeal is untimely and that the reasons were beyond your control or could not have been reasonably foreseen or prevented.