CLAIMANT, WHO WAS UNABLE TO WORK BECAUSE OF DOMESTIC ABUSE, WAS ENTITLED TO UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS.
The Third Department, reversing the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, determined claimant was willing and able to work, within the meaning of the Unemployment Insurance Law, when she took a leave of absence because of domestic abuse. Claimant alleged she was unable to leave her house and walk to work because her former boyfriend would harass her both as she walked to work and at work:
Here, the uncontroverted evidence is that claimant was ready, willing and able to work during the period in issue. Under the circumstances presented, we disagree with the Board that her leave of absence necessitated by the actions of a perpetrator of domestic abuse rendered her legally unavailable for work … . To that end, and pursuant to Labor Law § 593 (1) (b) (i), the Legislature has provided that an employee may not be disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits for separating from employment “due to any compelling family reason,” which includes “domestic violence . . . which causes the individual reasonably to believe that such individual’s continued employment would jeopardize his or her safety or the safety of any member of his or her immediate family”… . The progenitor of Labor Law § 593 (1) (b) (i) was enacted … in response to a New Jersey appeals court ruling that a woman who was forced to quit her job due to domestic violence was not entitled to collect unemployment benefits … and was intended to ensure that victims of domestic violence “may be eligible for [u]nemployment [i]nsurance” … . When the provision was amended to its current form in 2009 … , the legislative intent remained to ensure that “individuals who are voluntarily separated from employment due to compelling family reasons are eligible for [unemployment insurance] benefits” … . The Board credited claimant’s uncontroverted account that she was the victim of domestic violence, stalking and harassment, as well as her testimony that she was willing and able to work during the period in issue but was prevented from leaving her home to get to work due to her justifiable fear of further violence by her former boyfriend … . Matter of Derfert (Commissioner of Labor),,2017 NY Slip Op 04016, 3rd Dept 5-18-17
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE (CLAIMANT, WHO WAS UNABLE TO WORK BECAUSE OF DOMESTIC ABUSE, WAS ENTITLED TO UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS)/