There are a variety of reasons why an applicant may be disqualified from receiving New Jersey unemployment benefits, which include voluntarily leaving their employment, committing misconduct, failing to apply for or to accept suitable work.Voluntarily Leaving Employment
An applicant will be disqualified from receiving New Jersey unemployment benefits if the Department of Labor finds that he or she left work voluntarily and without good cause attributable to the work. If the applicant can show that they quit their job with good cause attributable to the work, he or she will be eligible for unemployment benefits. In order to show a voluntary quit was for good cause, the applicant must establish that the cause for quitting the job sufficiently justifies the applicant’s voluntarily leaving the ranks of the employed to join the ranks of the unemployed. If the circumstances of the job compel the applicant to quit his or her job, the applicant may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Some examples of leaving work voluntarily with good cause attributable to the work include having to terminate the employment to avoid acting illegal, immoral or work in a dangerous or unhealthy working environment.Misconduct
An involuntary termination of employment as the result of “misconduct” will disqualify an applicant from receiving New Jersey unemployment benefits. There are three types of misconduct, which include simple misconduct, severe misconduct and gross misconduct.
Simple misconduct is defined as improper, intentional, connected with one’s work, malicious and within the applicant’s control and is either a deliberate violation of his or her employer’s rules or a disregard to standards of behavior that the employer has the right to expect of the applicant. An unintentional, inadvertent or negligent act that does not amount to a wanton disregard of the consequences is not misconduct under New Jersey unemployment benefits laws. A simple misconduct disqualification will prevent an applicant from receiving unemployment benefits for the week of the termination and the subsequent seven weeks. Once this disqualification period ends, the applicant becomes eligible to collect unemployment benefits.
An applicant who is terminated for severe misconduct will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits until he or she works in new employment for at least four weeks earns at least six times their weekly benefit amount and becomes separated from the new employment through no fault of their own. The New Jersey unemployment statute does not define specifically what constitutes severe misconduct. Instead, the legislature sets forth “examples” of severe misconduct which include repeated violations of an employer's rule or policy, repeated lateness or absences after the applicant receives a written warning from their employer, falsification of records, physical assault or threats that do not constitute gross misconduct, misuse of benefits or sick time, abuse of leave, theft of company property, excessive use of drugs/alcohol on the job, theft of time, or where the behavior is malicious and deliberate but is not considered gross misconduct.
Gross misconduct is a termination as a result of the applicant committing a crime of the first, second, third or fourth degree under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. A termination for gross misconduct will disqualify an applicant from receiving unemployment benefits until he she returns to work for at least eight weeks, earns ten times their weekly benefit rate, and becomes unemployed through no fault of their own.