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Eagle Truck Transport Inc. v. Board of Review

Decided: March 10, 1959.

EAGLE TRUCK TRANSPORT, INC., A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND BERNARD CARROLL, SR., RESPONDENTS



For affirmance -- Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Heher, Jacobs, Francis and Proctor. For reversal -- Justice Burling. The opinion of the court was delivered by Francis, J. Burling, J. (dissenting).

Francis

Bernard Carroll, Sr. was granted unemployment compensation benefits. The employer, Eagle Truck Transport, Inc., sought a review in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court but the matter was certified on our motion before decision there.

Carroll, a resident of Brooklyn, New York, was employed as a truck driver for eight years by Eagle, whose place of business is in Jersey City, New Jersey. On January 23, 1958 he resigned under circumstances constituting a voluntary quit. It is undisputed that his work record and contributions to the unemployment compensation fund were adequate to warrant a claim for benefits if the cessation of work had been involuntary. After quitting he obtained employment of the same type with different employers in Brooklyn. On March 10, 1958 he became unemployed involuntarily

and two days later sought compensation under the New Jersey law against Eagle, his former employer in this state. The claim was filed in the New York office of our Division of Employment Security. N.J.S.A. 43:21-1 et seq. Benefits were allowed beginning March 24, 1958, on the ground that the disqualification resulting from the voluntary quit of January 23, 1958 had been tolled by the subsequent out-of-state employment, in which Carroll had earned at least four times his New Jersey benefit rate. The award is challenged by the respondent employer on the theory that the wages received in Brooklyn did not operate to requalify him since they were not earned in New Jersey with an employer who was subject to the law of this state.

In support of the position, reliance is placed upon N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) and 43:21-19(i), the sections of the act dealing with disqualification and definition of employment. N.J.S.A. 43:21-5 in part provides:

"An individual shall be disqualified for benefits:

"(a) For the week in which he has left work voluntarily without good cause, and for each week thereafter until he has earned in employment (which may be with an employing unit having in employment one or more individuals) at least four times his weekly benefit rate, as determined in each case." (Emphasis supplied.)

The argument is that "in employment" refers to New Jersey employment which is normally covered by the act or to work of the type included as "employment" under the act, and performed in this State for an "employing unit" having in employment one or more individuals.

N.J.S.A. 43:21-19(i)(1) defines "employment" to mean

"[S]ervice, including service in interstate commerce performed for remuneration or under any contract of hire, written or oral, express or implied."

The inclusion of service in interstate commerce requires special comment. The Legislature of New Jersey, as well as those of other jurisdictions, recognized that work for some employers would be rendered partly in this State and

partly in one or more sister states and that confusion might arise as to where such employees would have to make their tax contributions and whether they would be protected in case of unemployment by our act or by that of some other state wherein they were also engaged. To avoid this difficulty the lawmakers of every jurisdiction of this country, including New Jersey, adopted substantially uniform measures to localize interstate employment for purposes of employer and employee contributions and liability for benefits. 1 C.C.H. Unemployment Insurance Reporter, §§ 1334, 2050. Thus the subparagraphs of section 19(i) of our act say:

"The term 'employment' shall include an individual's entire service, performed within or both within and without this State if * * *."

There follows a specification of variant circumstances under which interstate service shall be deemed to call for contributions to our fund, and its amenability to claims of employees so occupied in the event of involuntary unemployment. However, we are not concerned here with any problem arising out of interstate employment. Carroll's work, which is said to have removed his disqualification, was intrastate but performed in New York. Under ordinary circumstances such occupation would be subject to the law of that state and ultimately would result in qualifying him for benefits there when sufficient work credits and contributions had been accumulated. 30 McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York, c. 31, p. 376, Labor Law, § 511. The unusual problem before us is whether employment as a truck driver in another state ...


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