In yet another legislative win in favor of New Jersey workers, Governor Murphy has signed a bill eliminating the controversial severe misconduct disqualification for unemployment benefits. As of Friday, August 24, 2018, the severe misconduct disqualification has been repealed from the New Jersey unemployment law. The bill also makes other significant changes to unemployment law concerning misconduct. The change of law is being viewed by plaintiff employment attorneys as another legislative victory for New Jersey employees.
The History of Severe Misconduct
The severe misconduct disqualification was first enacted into law in 2010 and created a new total disqualification of unemployment benefits as a more severe penality than that of simple misconduct’s temporary seven (7) week disqualification. Prior to the 2010, a claimant would be disqualified for six weeks if it was found that they committed misconduct and could only be totally disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if it was found that the termination was for gross misconduct. Gross misconduct is when the claimant is terminated as a result of committing a criminal act, such as stealing, assault and other conduct punishable by criminal law.