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In a series of decisions in which claimants were denied unemployment insurance benefits because they were terminated for misconduct, the New York’s Appellate Division, Third Department, is standing steadfastly by the determinations of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. Last week, the Third Department reviewed five matters in which claims were denied on grounds of misconduct, and unanimously affirmed in every case. The court cited a variety of different precedents in upholding the Board, evincing little sympathy for employees who lose their job through egregious or dishonest behavior. It also articulated a tendency to allow the Board to resolve credibility issues. The cases decided last week were: � Matter of the Claim of Roseanne Petrocelli, 87090. Roseanne Petrocelli was fired from her job as a bookkeeper for threatening to “get” a co-worker and “punch [her] teeth out,” threats made the same day she was reprimanded for harassing the same co-worker and warned. “Threatening or harassing behavior toward a co-worker that continues despite warnings by the employer constitutes disqualifying conduct,” the court concluded. On the panel were Justices Thomas E. Mercure, Edward O. Spain, Carl J. Mugglin, Robert S. Rose and John A. Lahtinen. Ms. Petrocelli appeared in person. � Matter of the Claim of Murat Jerome, 87099. Here, a security guard was fired for showing up an hour late on two consecutive days and leaving a factory unguarded, despite prior warnings. “It is well settled that continued lateness after oral and written warnings can constitute disqualifying conduct,” the court said, citing Matter of Wayne, 261 AD2d 768. Presiding Justice Anthony V. Cardona and Justices D. Bruce Crew III, Karen K. Peters, Victoria A. Graffeo and Lahtinen were on the panel. Murat Jerome appeared in person. Defending the Commissioner of Labor was Assistant Attorney General Bessie Bazile. � Matter of the Claim of Carol A. Hart, 87041. In this case, Carol A. Hart was fired from her job in an accounts receivable department of a mailing company after she refused to perform a required task — separating paychecks for distribution. “The refusal to comply with a reasonable request of the employer may constitute insubordination rising to the level of disqualifying misconduct,” the Third Department said. Justices Crew, Peters, Graffeo, Mugglin and Anthony J. Carpinello were on the panel. Ms. Hart appeared in person. Norman Uris, an assistant attorney general, defended the State. � Matter of Isa R. Cortada, 86810. Isa R. Cortada was terminated from her job as compliance agent for a municipal sanitation department after altering the dates on a physician’s note presented to explain her absence from work. After an administrative law judge ruled in Ms. Cortada’s favor, the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board found that she was guilty of disqualifying conduct. That opinion was affirmed by a Third Department panel including Presiding Justice Cardona and Justices Mercure, Carpinello, Rose and Lahtinen. Ms. Cortada appeared in person. Larry A. Sonnenshein of the New York City Corporation Counsel’s office represented the City Personnel Department. � Matter of the Claim of Velma Jackson, 86828. Here, the claimant, a kitchen aide, was fired for repeatedly refusing to take out the garbage, a task she argued was outside the scope of her duties. “Claimant admitted that one of her reasons for refusing the assigned task was that she disliked her new supervisor and she would have continued performing it if she had been asked in a different manner,” the court said. “Although claimant offered an exculpatory version of the events surrounding her termination, credibility issues raised by conflicting testimony are for the Board to resolve.” The case was decided by Presiding Justice Cardona and Justices Mercure, Spain, Rose and Lahtinen. Velma Jackson appeared in person. Ms. Bazile defended the Commissioner of Labor.

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