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Brown v. Board of Review

Decided: December 9, 1971.

ROBERT A. BROWN, CLAIMANT-APPELLANT
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND SOPHIA, INC., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



Kilkenny, Labrecque and Lane. The opinion of the court was delivered by Kilkenny, P.J.A.D.

Kilkenny

Claimant appeals from a final decision of the Board of Review, Division of Employment Security, affirming the determination of the Appeal Tribunal which held that claimant had left work on August 10, 1970 voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work, thereby rendering himself disqualified and ineligible for unemployment benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a).

Both administrative agencies concurred in their findings of fact that claimant had left his work because of a nonwork-connected disability, and that he had made no reasonable effort to preserve or retain the employer-employee relationship.

The basic facts are not disputed. Claimant, age 24, began working for respondent N.J. Sophia, Inc., in 1966 as a hair stylist. He last worked for this employer on or about

February 6, 1970, a span of about four years. In the six months prior to his leaving that employment, he was earning about $150 per week.

Since about the age of 19 years claimant had diabetes mellitus which required him to use insulin. He claims that as a direct result of the pressures of his employment, he was unable to eat the proper amount of food at the required intervals and had insulin reactions. On or about February 6, 1970 claimant was compelled to obtain medical assistance and quit his job, allegedly on the advice of his doctor.

Claimant received disability benefits for approximately six months and then applied for unemployment benefits as of August 10, 1970.

Claimant testified before the hearing examiner that he was advised by his doctor that he should seek employment in some other occupation because his job as a hair stylist -- a job which is still available to him with the same employer -- would aggravate his diabetic condition due to the nature of the work. There was no supporting medical testimony, this hearsay statement standing alone.

The hearing examiner was apparently satisfied as to claimant's availability for work, stating that "the basic question here is voluntary leaving rather than availability."

The Board of Review agreed with the decision of the Appeal Tribunal, which denied benefits. The latter based its disqualification of claimant in reliance upon Stauhs v. Board of Review , 93 N.J. Super. 451 (App. Div. 1967), wherein we said:

We therefore conclude that a claimant who quits his job because his work duties are detrimental to an existing physicial condition or state of health which did not have a work-connected origin has left his work voluntarily without good cause "attributable to such work" and he is disqualified from unemployment benefits. [at 457-458]

Citing Bussman Mfg. Co. v. Industrial Comm'n of Missouri , 327 S.W. 2d 487 (Mo. App. 1959), which interpreted the word "attributable" as ...


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