Preventive Law for Employers

"Misconduct" to be re-defined in NJ unemployment law

The NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development is proposing to re-define “misconduct” in unemployment law, based on a case that came down when I was still in diapers.

Here’s the info, from 41 N.J.R. 3781

The Department is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 12:17-10.2, so as to replace the existing regulatory definition for the term “misconduct” with the definition of the term that appears in the leading case on the issue, namely, Beaunit Mills v. Division of Emp. Sec., 43 N.J. Super. 172 (App. Div. 1956). Specifically, N.J.A.C. 12:17-10.2(a) currently states that, “[f]or an act to constitute misconduct, it must be improper, intentional, connected with one’s work, malicious, and within the individual’s control, and is either a deliberate violation of the employer’s rules or a disregard of standards of  behavior which the employer has the right to expect of an employee.” The court in Beaunit Mills, however, defined an act that would constitute misconduct as, “an act of wanton or willful disregard of the employer’s interest, a deliberate violation of the employer’s rules, a disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee, or negligence in such degree or recurrence as to manifest culpability, wrongful intent, or evil design, or show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interest or of the employee’s duties and obligations to the employer.”

At some time during the history of the regulations between 1956 and the present, the Department evidently sought to paraphrase the court’s holding in Beaunit Mills. However, in doing so, it does appear that some of the meaning of the court’s definition for the term “misconduct” was lost. Consequently, again, the Department proposes to replace the existing definition at N.J.A.C. 12:17-10.1(a) with the above quoted definition from the holding in Beaunit Mills.

Comments are closed.

Who is Ann Kiernan?

Ann Kiernan is an employment lawyer who has been practicing law in New Jersey for more than 30 years. She represents only employers and management and regularly provides management training companies big and small. Employment law is constantly changing, and Ann is familiar how these changes affect employers. To keep up-to-date and learn what issues are currently affecting businesses and employers in New Jersey, read the blog.

Contacting Ann Kieran

The Law Office of Ann F. Kiernan is located at

210 New York Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ

Ann may be reached via telephone at 732-846-3201 and email.

Legal Disclaimer

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should not act or rely on any legal information on the World Wide Web without obtaining the advice of an attorney. The selection of an attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising. Before making your choice of attorney, you should give this matter careful thought. To learn more, click here.