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Morgan v. Board of Review

Decided: November 19, 1962.

ANNA R. MORGAN, CLAIMANT-APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND NATIONAL BISCUIT COMPANY, RESPONDENTS



Goldmann, Freund and Foley. The opinion of the court was delivered by Freund, J.A.D.

Freund

This is an appeal from a decision of the respondent Board of Review (Board) holding that claimant is disqualified from unemployment benefits under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) for leaving work voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work.

Claimant resides at 227 West 11th Street, New York City. For 46 years she was employed as a matron by the National Biscuit Company (National). While respondent's plant was in New York, claimant walked to her work in 20 minutes. Three years and eight months after National moved its plant to Fair Lawn, N.J. claimant left its employ. Throughout this period, she commuted from her home in New York to

the Fair Lawn plant, walking six blocks to the Eighth Avenue subway, riding the subway for 35 minutes to a bus terminal on 58th Street, and riding a bus for 25 minutes to respondent's plant. She worked an eight-hour day starting at 7:15 A.M.

National had no compulsory retirement plan. After 15 years of service, an employee would be eligible at 55 years of age for a reduced pension. After 25 years of service and at 65 years of age, an employee would be entitled to a full pension of $100 per month.

In April 1961 claimant gave National three months' notice that she intended to quit her job. In June 1961, while still employed, she applied for Social Security Old Age Benefits. Claimant was 62 years of age when she left her employment on August 31, 1961. She then began receiving a monthly pension of $82 from respondent and social security benefits of $78.20 per month.

Claimant stated in her application of September 7, 1961 for unemployment benefits that she had ceased working for National as a result of her "voluntary retirement." At her initial interview, claimant signed a statement promising to "look for any work that I can get." Her application was denied for the reason that she was able to work but left her job to receive her pension, which "constitutes a voluntary quit without cause."

In her notice to the Appeal Tribunal for further consideration, she said for the first time, "I feel that I had a right to leave this job because of the excessive traveling necessary." At the formal hearing before the Appeal Tribunal, claimant explained leaving her work because "it was too much travel" and commuting made her "aggravated." She objected to early rising, the inclement weather, and "the rushing to get the train." Two or three days a month she had reported ill and was absent from work. A doctor's certificate dated September 28, 1961 was produced at the hearing. It stated that claimant had been in his care since January 5, 1933 and that his diagnosis was "duodenal ulcer and had a

nephrectomy 14 years ago." Despite these infirmities, Mrs. Morgan in his opinion was capable of working a full eight-hour day as a matron.

Claimant testified that it was not her health that caused her to quit her job with National. She stated that she had been seeking work in department stores in New York and Brooklyn. She had been unsuccessful, since these stores had no occasion to employ a matron or attendant and since she had no training in sales work. She had not registered for employment with any private agency but had read newspaper "ads." The examiner ruled that claimant was eligible for benefits without disqualification.

Further timely appeal was taken to the Board of Review. After a hearing, the Board made a finding of fact that claimant voluntarily left her work and withdrew from the labor market, to take a pension as well as social security benefits upon reaching retirement age. A majority vote of the Board found this motivation constituted leaving her employment voluntarily without good cause ...


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