The New Jersey Appellate Division recently held that an employee, who quit her job in response to being told that she would be fired, can collect unemployment benefits.
In the case Cottman v. Bd. of Review, Dkt. No. A-1908-16T2, 2018 N.J. Super. LEXIS 52 (App. Div. March 29, 2018), the Appellate Division reversed the Board of Review’s decision that found Ms. Cottman ineligible for quitting her job after her child care arrangements fell through requiring her to ask for the day off. Ms. Cottman was a parent of three children all of whom had special needs and worked the night shift for Quality Management Associates as a residential counselor. When Ms. Cottman’s babysitter unexpectedly quit, Cottman as per company policy, tried to find a coworker to fill in for her but was unsuccessful finding anyone to work for her. As a result, Ms. Cottman told her supervisor that she would not be able to make it to work for her shift because there was no one to take care of her kids. Her supervisor responded that she “might” be fired and should not “play with [her] time.” Upon being told she might be fired, Cottman instead resigned.
When Ms. Cottman subsequently applied for unemployment benefits, she was initially denied after it was determined she had left her work voluntarily and without good cause attributable to her work. The Appeal Tribunal cited the New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) which includes “care of children or other relatives” in the list of personal reasons that will ordinarily disqualify someone from receiving unemployment benefits. The Board of Review affirmed the decision.