On appeal from the Board of Review.
Fritz, Bischoff and Morgan.
[167 NJSuper Page 44] In this matter of first impression in New Jersey, we are asked to determine whether leaving work on a reasonable expectation of betterment constitutes a disqualification for unemployment compensation benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5 as a voluntary quit without good cause attributable to the work.
Respondent Christopher Duffy was employed by appellant Rider College for five years from 1972 to 1977 as Director of Special Sessions at a salary of $17.500 for the 1976-1977 school year. He made application for a position at Carthage College in Wisconsin, was interviewed and received appointment to the job by letter dated May 17, 1977 at an annual salary of $20,000. He accepted the appointment and resigned from Rider College effective July 31, 1977.
Respondent went to Wisconsin on June 6, 1977 to search for housing and discovered that the housing prices in Wisconsin were both higher than he expected and higher than he wanted to pay. After four days in Wisconsin he returned to New Jersey and terminated his relationship with Carthage College. Upon his return to New Jersey, respondent did not apply for his old position even though it had not been filled.
His application for unemployment insurance was denied by the deputy. He appealed to the Appeal Tribunal of the Division of Unemployment Disability Insurance which also held that he was not entitled to collect benefits in an opinion reading in part as follows:
Leaving work to accept other work is leaving without good cause attributable to such work only if the employment to which the claimant is going is substantially better employment. While the job which he accepted paid considerably more than he was receiving in his last employment, housing must be considered as a factor in the job offer. While he had made inquiries about housing prior to signing the contract, he had not contacted those persons who would have direct knowledge of the housing market, and when, after signing the contract, he did inquire of such persons he found there was no available housing at affordable prices. Therefore, the new employment which he accepted cannot be considered substantially better employment, and his leaving is without good cause attributable to such work. He is disqualified for benefits under R.S. 43:21-5(a) from July 31, 1977.
The Board of Review, on appeal, reversed the Appeal Tribunal and held claimant entitled to benefits, stating:
The claimant left work for what seemed to be a substantially more favorable position. If such is true he would not be subject to disqualification
for unemployment benefits. He had no reason to doubt the reliability of the information he received concerning the cost of a house. He was justified in accepting it. Therefore, he did not get the new job through no fault of his own. No disqualification arises.
Respondent's employer appeals from the final administrative determination holding respondent qualified for unemployment compensation benefits.
In 1961 the Legislature amended the Unemployment Compensation Law (L. 1961, c. 43, par. 3) to require that a leaving "voluntarily without good cause" must be "attributable to such work" in order to avoid the statutory disqualification for benefits. N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). White v. Board of Review , 146 N.J. Super. 268, 270 (App. Div. 1977). In determining whether a claimant is disqualified, courts have subsequently focused on the factors at work which cause a person to quit his employment. We have consistently held that causes personal ...