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Softexture Yarns Inc. v. Board of Review

Decided: January 11, 1960.

SOFTEXTURE YARNS, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND ROBERT BLAKELY, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



Price, Gaulkin and Sullivan. The opinion of the court was delivered by Gaulkin, J.A.D.

Gaulkin

Robert Blakely was discharged by his employer, Softexture Yarns, Inc., on January 15, 1959. He filed a claim for unemployment benefits under R.S. 43:21-1 et seq. It was disallowed, upon the determination by a deputy that his discharge was "for misconduct connected with [his] work." Upon a "redetermination" by another deputy, the same result was reached.

Blakely then appealed to the Appeal Tribunal of the Division of Employment Security of the Department of Labor and Industry. A hearing was had upon that appeal on March 6, 1959, at which there appeared (according to the transcript) "Robert Blakely, Claimant; James Ware, Witness; John Hemby, Witness; Edward J. Epstein, Manager; Waddell Moore, Union Shop Steward." The Appeal Tribunal affirmed. In its opinion it said:

"The claimant's conduct in telling fellow workers how much to produce and in threatening to call a strike at the employer's establishment was conduct evincing a willing disregard of the employer's interests, such as is 'misconduct connected with the work.' He is therefore subject to disqualification under section 5(b) of the statute. * * *"

Blakely then appealed to the Board of Review. At the hearing of that appeal only two people appeared -- Blakely, and Allen Brooks, assistant plant superintendent of Softexture Yarns, Inc. Neither Blakely nor Softexture was represented by counsel. A member of the Board of Review first interrogated Blakely. Then Mr. Brooks was sworn, and the following ensued (emphasis ours):

"Q. You have heard the testimony of Mr. Blakely and you say it is inconsistent with facts you personally know. A. And personally have been presented before the Board before.

Q. Not before the Board. A. In the previous appeal.

Q. In what respect do you challenge Mr. Blakely's testimony? Let me say this: I don't suppose you know of your own knowledge all of the facts ? A. I was there the day that he was discharged.

Q. You may have been there the day he was discharged, but he was given considerable testimony as to what happened in the basement, so you will confine your testimony to what you personally know."

Brooks therefore gave only brief testimony, confined to the one incident of which he had some personal knowledge.

On April 23 the Board of Review mailed its decision to the parties. In it the Board said:

"* * * The representative of the employer present at the hearing [Brooks] before the Board could give no direct testimony. ...


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