New Jersey employers know that the State’s unemployment compensation scheme is geared toward protecting employees. Consequently, a lot of employers generally (and wisely) do not challenge a terminated employee’s claim to unemployment benefits. A resigned employee, on the other hand, has historically presented a different situation, as the employee typically waives an entitlement to unemployment by resigning. A once narrow regulation provides an exception to this above rule.
N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.5 provides that where an employee is expressly notified of an imminent (within 60 days) layoff or discharge, he/she still has the right to seek unemployment benefits if he/she resigns before the layoff or discharge.
But what if an employee resigns because he/she merely thinks a termination is coming? In other words, can an employee who has not been explicitly notified of a layoff or discharge but still believes one is coming still collect unemployment benefits? “Yes”, says the New Jersey Appellate Division in a case captioned Cottman v. Bd. of Review, Dept. of Labor and Workforce Dev., A-1908-16T2 (Mar. 29, 2018).