In the Matter of the Claim of STEVEN JANAKIEVSKI, Appellant. COMMISSIONER OF LABOR, Respondent.
Calendar Date: February 28, 2017
Janakievski, Rochester, appellant pro se.
T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, New York City (Gary
Leibowitz of counsel), for respondent.
Before: Peters, P.J., Garry, Lynch, Devine and Mulvey, JJ.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
from a decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board,
filed June 9, 2016, which ruled that claimant was ineligible
to receive unemployment insurance benefits because he failed
to file a valid original claim.
worked as a warehouse coordinator for Landmark Industries, a
sheltered workshop that operates a vocational and
rehabilitative work program at Rochester Psychiatric Center
(hereinafter RPC). Landmark workshops and programs, which are
open only to RPC psychiatric patients meeting certain
criteria, provide an opportunity for patients to develop
appropriate work behaviors and skills necessary to gain
employment in the competitive job market. Landmark contracted
with certain private companies to provide services such as
packaging and shipping for their businesses, which created
jobs for the patients working in the programs. Claimant, an
RPC patient, worked 20 hours per week and was paid an hourly
wage, and was not employed anywhere else.
the Landmark program where claimant worked closed
temporarily, he filed a claim for unemployment insurance
benefits. His claim was denied on the ground that he was
unable to meet the requirements for a valid original claim
because his work with Landmark, a non-profit organization,
was excluded from employment under Labor Law § 563 (2)
(d). The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board upheld that
determination. Claimant appeals.
evidence supports the Board's determination and, thus, we
affirm (see Matter of Kelly [Commissioner of Labor],
145 A.D.3d 1306, 1306 ). To file a valid original
claim, a claimant must meet certain qualifications and
satisfy employment requirements (see Labor Law
§ 527 ). Labor Law § 563 (2) (d) excludes
certain employment from unemployment insurance coverage,
including "services rendered for a non-profit
organization by a person who (1) receives rehabilitative
services in a facility conducted for the purpose of carrying
out a program of rehabilitation for individuals whose earning
capacity is impaired by age or physical or mental deficiency
or injury or (2) is given remunerative work in a facility
conducted for the purpose of providing such work for persons
who cannot be readily absorbed in the competitive labor
market because of their impaired physical or mental
capacity." The Board credited the hearing testimony
establishing that, as part of his vocational rehabilitation,
claimant worked for Landmark, a non-profit organization that
operates workshops and rehabilitative programs open
exclusively to RPC patients. To the extent that claimant
provided contrary testimony, this presented a credibility
issue for the Board's resolution (see Matter of
Kachmarik [Commissioner of Labor], 138 A.D.3d 1332, 1334
). As substantial evidence supports the determination
that claimant's employment was excluded under Labor Law
§ 563 (2) (d), he is not entitled to unemployment
insurance benefits (see Matter of Richmond [Commissioner
of Labor], 264 A.D.2d 878, 878 , lv
denied 94 N.Y.2d 757');">94 N.Y.2d 757 ).
we reject claimant's argument that Labor Law § 563
(2) (d) is unconstitutional in that it violates his federal
right to equal protection by treating people with
disabilities differently for purposes of unemployment
insurance benefits (see U.S. Const, 14th Amend,
§ 1). The statute, which has withstood equal protection
challenges, is presumed to be constitutional and, thus,
claimant bears the "heavy burden of establishing the
contrary beyond a reasonable doubt" (Matter of Klein
[Hartnett], 78 N.Y.2d 662, 666 , cert
denied 504 U.S. 912');">504 U.S. 912 ; see Matter of Faith
Bible Church [Hudacs], 179 A.D.2d 308, 312 ).
Claimant has not demonstrated that this facially neutral
exclusion disadvantages a suspect class or burdens a
fundamental right,  or that it was enacted with an intent
to discriminate and, thus, the exclusion of certain types of
work from unemployment insurance benefits "need only be
rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose"
(People v Aviles, 28 N.Y.3d 497, 502 ; see
Matter of Faith Bible Church [Hudacs], 179 A.D.2d at
312), which is satisfied here (see Matter of Klein
[Hartnett], 78 N.Y.2d at 672; see also People v
Aviles, 28 N.Y.3d at 505; Matter of Restaneo
[Commissioner of Labor], 2 A.D.3d 931, 933 ,
appeal dismissed 1 N.Y.3d 622');">1 N.Y.3d 622 ).
Claimant's remaining contentions are either unpreserved
or without merit.
Peters, P.J., Garry, Lynch, Devine and Mulvey, JJ., concur.
that the decision is affirmed, without costs.
 "There is no fundamental right to
unemployment insurance benefits" (Matter of Klein
[Hartnett], 78 N.Y.2d ...