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Medwick v. Board of Review

Decided: October 3, 1961.

MARTHA MEDWICK, CLAIMANT-APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT



Conford, Freund and Labrecque. The opinion of the court was delivered by Labrecque, J.s.c. (temporarily assigned).

Labrecque

This is an appeal from a decision of the Board of Review, Division of Employment Security, affirming the action of the Appeal Tribunal which in turn affirmed the determination of the Division, denying claimant's claim for unemployment benefits. She has appeared pro se throughout the litigation.

Claimant-appellant had been employed as a posting clerk for Kearfott Company, Inc. for some five and one-half years prior to the events complained of. She became pregnant and discontinued her employment on June 10, 1960, after having given one month's notice of her intention to leave. She thought that she was in her fifth month of pregnancy at the time of her leaving. Four days after leaving she applied for unemployment benefits, representing that she was ready, willing and able to work full time. Benefits were denied her on the ground that she was disqualified by reason of the fact that she had left her employment voluntarily without good cause. N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a).

Claimant in her original application had given her pregnancy as the reason for leaving. At the hearing, while testifying that pregnancy was her principal reason, she added that she also found it necessary to leave because of warm and uncomfortable working conditions. Nevertheless, she claimed she was thereafter able to, available for, and actively seeking, work. N.J.S.A. 43:21-4(c).

The Unemployment Compensation Law was enacted to ameliorate the plight of workers who, through no fault of their own, become unemployed and who are able, willing and available for work. Krauss v. A. & M. Karagheusian, Inc. , 13 N.J. 447 (1953). It was not enacted for the

purpose of allowing benefits for physical conditions or illnesses disabling a person from performing work. To meet the latter situations, save and excepting those compensable under the Workmen's Compensation Act, the Legislature enacted N.J.S.A. 43:21-4(f) and the Temporary Disability Benefits Law, N.J.S.A. 43:21-25 et seq.; Butler v. Bakelite Co. , 32 N.J. 154 (1960). In both of these, recovery of benefits for disability due to pregnancy was specifically excluded. N.J.S.A. 43:21-4(g)(2); N.J.S.A. 43:21-39(c).

N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a), on which respondent based its affirmance of the action of the Division of Employment Security, provided as follows:

"43:21-5. Disqualification for benefits.

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."

(See, however, L. 1961, c. 43, effective July 1, 1961, which now requires that such good cause be attributable to the work.)

Since claimant concededly left her employment voluntarily, the inquiry remains as to whether such leaving was without good cause. Berry, Whitson & Berry v. Div. etc., ...


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