Assurance of continued employment disqualifies educator for unemployment insurance benefitsRomano v Buffalo Bd. of Ed., App. Div., 256 AD2d 845 Cannizzaro v Buffalo Bd. of Ed., App. Div., 256 AD2d 846, Motion to appeal denied, 93 NY2d 815 Aljandari v Buffalo Bd. of Ed., App. Div., 245 AD2d 647 Dixon v Buffalo Bd. of Ed., App. Div., 256 AD2d 1046 A temporary teacher's eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits upon termination of his or her temporary employment depends on whether or not he or she has been given "a reasonable assurance of continued employment" within the meaning of Section 590.10 of the Labor Law. The following cases consider a number of different procedural and substantive issues involving claims for such benefits filed by temporary teachers. The basic lesson: employers will be required to provide substantial evidence of such assurances of continued employment to survive administrative and judicial scrutiny of objections to the payment of such benefits. The Romano Case Belmaries Romano and a number of other temporary teachers employed by the Buffalo Board of Education during academic 1994-95 were each sent a form letter dated June 9, 1995 indicating that they would be reemployed by the school board during the 1995-96 academic year. Although initially unemployment insurance claims were denied on the basis of the form letter, an administrative law judge [ALJ] overturned that determination. The Unemployment Insurance Board [Board] affirmed the ALJ's decision and then denied the school district's application seeking to reopen the matter. Although the Appellate Division recognized that "the decision to grant an application to reopen lies within the sound discretion of the Board," it decided that the Board had abused its discretion when it rejected the school district's application. The court said that the school district's motion for reopening and reconsideration of the issue of whether Romano and the other teachers "received a reasonable assurance of continued employment" as a result of the school district's sending them a form letter should have been granted by the Board. The matter was remanded to the Board for further action. The Cannizzaro and Aljandari cases Both Eva Cannizzaro and Abdulla Aljandari were temporary teachers employed by the Buffalo City School District during the 1994-95 academic year. In June 1995, the school district sent each of them a letter "advising them that they would be reemployed during the then-upcoming 1995-1996 academic year." Both were denied unemployment insurance benefits on the grounds that they had received a reasonable notice of continued employment within the meaning of Section 590.10 at the end of the 1994-95 academic year. The Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board granted their applications to reopen and reconsider these denials of benefits. The Board granted their applications and after reconsidering the matter, adhered to its prior rulings that both Cannizzaro and Aljandari had received reasonable assurances of continued employment. The Appellate Division rejected their appeals, holding that the record indicated that the Board's determinations regarding both teachers were supported by substantial evidence. The Dixon decision Amber Dixon and 19 other Buffalo City School District temporary teachers applied for unemployment insurance benefits at the end of the 1994-95 academic year. The Board ruled that the 20 teachers had not been provided with "a reasonable assurance of continued employment" for the 1995-96 academic year and approved their applications for unemployment insurance benefits. The school district appealed, only to have the Appellate Division affirm the Board's determinations. The court said that with respect to one teacher, Maria Orta, the district "admittedly failed to offer any proof [of such assurance] at the administrative hearing." As to the remaining 19 claimants, the Appellate Division set out the following guideline with respect to its considering Board determinations: It is well settled that the issue of whether a claimant received a reasonable assurance of employment is a factual question for the Board to resolve and such determination, if supported by substantial evidence, will not be disturbed, even if other evidence in the record would support a contrary conclusion. The Appellate Division said that although the teachers had been sent letters in June 1995 advising them that their services would be continued for the 1995-96 academic year "the Board concluded, in light of the proof adduced at the administrative hearings regarding the respective claimant's particular employment situations, that the employer did not in fact provide claimants with a reasonable assurance of continued employment." The decision notes that 10 claimants worked in mathematics programs and the Board's findings were supported by "extensive testimony regarding … planned staff cuts for these departments." As to the remaining teachers, the court said "it could not say that the Board erred in concluding that the employer failed to provide competent testimony regarding hiring lists and practices for those [other] areas [and thus] failed to demonstrate that it had provided these claimants with a reasonable assurance of employment for the 1995-1996 academic year." NYPPL
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