An appeal by Pace University to block unemployment insurance benefits to an adjunct was denied recently by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL). The NYSDOL ruled that receipt of an appointment letter does not constitute a guarantee or a reasonable expectation of employment.
The events unfolded in the following manner. Last summer the adjunct was not assigned a class for the summer session even though he had received an appointment letter from Pace. He applied for and received unemployment insurance for the period of his unemployment during that summer. In the Fall he was notified by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) that he did not actually qualify for unemployment benefits for this period of time since he had received an appointment letter. As a result of his disqualification, he was ordered by the NYSDOL to return the money.
The adjunct appealed and was represented by the UAFP attorney’s law firm, The Law Office of Harvey S. Mars LLC. The adjunct won the case but Pace, in turn, appealed the decision. Last Friday Pace’s appeal was denied when NYSDOL determined that the appointment letter did not, in fact, guarantee Fall employment for the adjunct.
The ruling will have a profound impact for adjuncts since it means that they would be considered eligible for unemployment benefits from the date of their last class in a semester until the start of their next teaching assignment provided that they receive an appointment letter but are not assigned a class.
While, in order to qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits, adjuncts would presumably have to show that they sought other employment during the summer but were unable to secure it, this nevertheless makes application for unemployment insurance an option for adjuncts.