Philadelphia Employment Law News

Arlene Ackerman Unemployment Benefits Denied

The Arlene Ackerman unemployment benefits saga finally ends with a resounding “no.” The former superintendent of the Philadelphia School District had applied for $573 in weekly unemployment benefits.

While those who lose their jobs can normally apply for unemployment benefits, the fact that Ackerman applied for the benefits was appalling to many as she had just been paid nearly $1 million to leave the district, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ackerman was a controversial superintendent as she was constantly in public battles with the district and city over leadership and finances, reports the Inquirer. She was eventually bought out for $905,000 plus $83,000 in unused personal and vacation leave time. As part of the buyout, she was allowed to file for unemployment benefits. But when Ackerman filed for the benefits, she drew the public ire as well as the attention of Philadelphia Mayor Nutter, who criticized her for seeking more money as the city dealt with its own financial woes.

It’s not clear on what grounds Ackerman was denied benefits. Generally, someone can be denied benefits if they voluntarily quit a job, were fired for misconduct, or are unable and unavailable for work. In Arlene Ackerman’s case, she negotiated a buyout that stipulated she was eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. There was no guarantee that she would be approved for the benefits, and the state agency may have felt that she voluntarily left the job, ruling her ineligible for the benefits.

Arlene Ackerman unemployment benefits? Denied. She was paid nearly $1 million to leave, but will not continue collecting a check from the city.

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