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Kurtz v. Board of Review

A-0185-04T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2005) (Unpublished)

UNEMPLOYMENT — An employer’s right to expect one of its key employees to address persons he or she encounters in the workplace without yelling and cursing is not open to serious dispute.

A company’s finance director had been placed on probation for use of abusive and profane language when addressing his staff. Two weeks later, when working with outside auditors, he again engaged in such behavior. “[H]e explained that he [was] demanding and a perfectionist and complained about the inexperience of the young woman performing the audit who, in his opinion, did not know what they were doing.” He was fired. At first he was awarded unemployment benefits, then, on appeal, he was denied benefits. In a related civil action between him and his employer, a settlement was reached in which his employer agreed not to challenge his claim for unemployment benefits. Consequently, his employer did not participate in the present appeal. The Appellate Division upheld the denial of unemployment benefits stating that: “[m]isconduct that disqualifies a claimant for unemployment benefit includes ‘a disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee.’ ... An employer’s right to expect one of its directors to address persons he encounters in the workplace without yelling and cursing is not open to serious dispute. Finally, [his] subsequent settlement agreement with his employer has no bearing on his eligibility for government benefits that are barred by his misconduct… .”


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