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State v. Joule Technical Corp.

Decided: February 7, 1974.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEPARTMENT OF LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY, BOARD OF EXAMINERS OF ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOULE TECHNICAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Lynch, Mehler and Michels. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lynch, J.A.D.

Lynch

The issue in this case is whether appellant Joule Technical Corporation (Joule) is engaged in the business of an "electrical contractor," within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 45:5A-1 et seq., which requires anyone engaged in such business to obtain a license from the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors (Board). N.J.S.A. 45:5A-9. Joule contends that it is not engaged in such business and needs no license from the Board to do so.

On August 24, 1972 the Board, after a hearing, rendered a decision reaffirming a previous determination by it that Joule was engaged in the business of electrical contracting

and imposed a penalty of $200.*fn1 Joule appealed to this court which, pursuant to an unreported per curiam opinion of May 18, 1973, remanded the matter to the Board for a full hearing, with directions that it make express findings of fact as to the nature of Joule's operation, and conclusions of law. We retained jurisdiction.

A hearing was held before the Board's hearing officer, who thereafter filed findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations. He recommended that the Board rescind its previous decision that Joule was an "electrical contractor" and remit any fines collected. Upon review the Board rejected the hearing officer's recommendation and reaffirmed its previous position. That determination is now before us for decision.

In making his findings of fact, the hearing officer accepted the testimony which was uncontradicted and which generally described Joule's operation as follows. It hired out temporary employees, including electricians, to companies which needed them as "fill-ins" on a temporary basis. The incident which gave rise to this proceeding involved Joule's providing an electrician to Celanese Corporation. The employee was on Joule's payroll but under the complete supervision of Celanese. After the employee's payroll taxes and fringe benefits, as well as Joule's overhead and profit, were deducted, the employee received the remainder.

The hearing officer concluded:

It is clear from the evidence adduced at this hearing that [Joule] was not in the business of being an electrical contractor, rather they were in the business of supplying manpower on an hourly basis for industries' temporary needs. Modern industry has a need from time to time for fill-ins or temporary help, both technical and otherwise. Service companies spring up to supply this need, and Joule Technical Corporation is just one such company.

The Board, after reviewing the transcript of the hearing and considering the hearing officer's recommendations, made its own "Findings of Fact." In their entirety they were stated:

FINDINGS OF FACTS

1. Between April and October, 1971, Joule Technical Corporation entered into a contract or contracts to supply ...


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