Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC

New York and New Jersey Labor and Employment Lawyer

197 Route 18 South
South Tower – Suite 3000
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Phone: (732) 325-0318
Fax: (732) 325-0317

245 Park Avenue, 39th Floor,
New York, NY 10167
Phone: (212) 672-1848
Fax: (212) 372-8798

Contact us for a free telephone consultation at

(732) 325-0318

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About Mitchell Schley, ESQ

Unemployment Claims and Appeals in New Jersey

Today’s topic concerns the rights of a former employee to collect unemployment benefits or appeal a decision made by the New Jersey Department of Labor (“DOL”) to deny you unemployment benefits. Each state determines an employee’s right to unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, some employers improperly try to prevent their employees from collecting unemployment benefits because it may save the company money.

Unemployment benefits provide temporary compensation to workers who meet the eligibility requirements. In New Jersey, a qualified individual will normally receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks from their date of termination, but this period may be extended. Sometimes benefit periods are extended for a year or more. It is important to file with the state for unemployment benefits immediately after your employment ends because your payments begin from the time you apply. Therefore, for example, if you wait 3 weeks to file for unemployment benefits, you have lost 3 weeks of benefits. You should file on the computer with the New Jersey Department of Labor website or in person at the local office.

There are several reasons why your claim for unemployment benefits can be denied. You are not entitled to unemployment benefits if you voluntary quit your job, however, many people do not recognize that even if you quit your job, you may still be entitled to unemployment benefits if your employer created conditions that forced you to quit your job. In a situation like that, it is a good idea to speak to a labor attorney. Another reason why you can be denied unemployment is if you were terminated by your employer for engaging in certain type of misconduct. However, it is important to recognize that even if your employer claims that you engaged in misconduct, the decision as to whether you should receive unemployment benefits is up to the Department of Labor, not your employer. In a situation like this, it is also a good idea to speak to a labor attorney who could help you protect your rights.

Under New Jersey law, there are three types of employee misconduct: simple, severe and gross. A simple misconduct disqualification, which includes insubordination, lateness or absences with no written warning given to you by your employer, will cause you to have a 7-week period of disqualification for collecting unemployment benefits. If you are discharged for severe misconduct, which includes use of drugs or alcohol at work, repeated lateness or absences after receiving a written warning from your employer, or if you are discharged for gross misconduct, which would be for conduct that is a crime, then you are disqualified from collecting unemployment benefits indefinitely.

If you disagree with the decision of the DOL, you have a right to appeal. You must file the appeal in writing with the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor will then hold a hearing with you and your former employer to determine what actually happened and who is telling the truth. Sometimes an employer will make up a story to try to block an employee from receiving unemployment benefits. It is a good idea to have a labor attorney represent you if you need to appeal an unemployment benefit decision denying you benefits if you think the decision is wrong and unfair.

Mitchell Schley is an attorney who practices labor law at the Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC, in East Brunswick and New York City. Feel free to contact him if you have a question about this article or any other labor law issue. He can be reached at (732) 325-0318 or at

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Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC
197 Route 18 South, South Tower – Suite 3000, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 • Phone: (732) 325-0318 • Fax: (732) 325-0317
245 Park Avenue, 39th Floor, New York, NY 10167 • Phone: (212) 672-1848 • Fax: (212) 372-8798
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