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Doering v. Board of Review

Decided: July 18, 1985.

CHRISTINE E. DOERING, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW AND NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENTS



On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor and Industry, State of New Jersey.

Michels, Petrella and Baime. The opinion of the court was delivered by Michels, P.J.A.D.

Michels

Claimant Christine E. Doering appeals from a final decision of the Board of Review (Board) that affirmed the decision of the Appeal Tribunal holding that she was disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits and liable for a refund of benefits paid during the period of such disqualification.

Claimant left her employment with respondent New Jersey Department of Corrections as an assistant social worker supervisor in the Genesis Program. She filed a claim for benefits under the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law alleging that she was sexually harassed, subject to racially prejudicial comments, and threatened with physical harm by Philip Hill (Hill), her immediate supervisor and the superintendent of the Genesis Program, and that she left her position because she

could not work under such circumstances. The deputy in the local claims office of the Division of Employment Security held her qualified for unemployment compensation benefits concluding, in part, that "[b]ased upon all available information, your refusal to continue working was with good cause." The appeals examiner, after hearing testimony from claimant as well as Hill and Charles Akers (Akers), the regional coordinator of the Genesis Program, disagreed, finding, in part, that:

[t]he claimant did not get along well with her supervisor. She resented personal comments upon her taste in music, discussions of her or her supervisor's social life, and their interactions when traveling to other locations. The supervisor yelled at the claimant and other workers. The claimant refused to perform various tasks assigned by her supervisor as she felt they were clerical functions. On occasion she declined by yelling at him. The supervisor did call the claimant at home and on more than one occasion staff meetings were held at the supervisor's house. On one occasion at his home he asked her to fry him some eggs. The claimant refused and the supervisor made the eggs himself. On one occasion when going for lunch the supervisor commented in a joking manner "let the white chick sit in the back."

The supervisor did not sexually molest the claimant. The claimant did not complain about sexual advances to the supervisor's supervisor. He made no serious sexual advances to the claimant.

The appeals examiner concluded that:

[t]he claimant made no real effort to correct the alleged incident of sexual harassment. She did not present them to the supervisor or file a grievance against the supervisor. . . . There were no substantial incidents of sexual harassment or sexual intimidation. The claimant herself did not pursue any complaints of this nature. The claimant and her supervisor did not relate to one another in a reasonable manner. The working conditions and the supervisor's attitude toward her were not so bad as to compel her to leave. The claimant did not have good cause attributable to the work for leaving.

The appeals examiner accordingly held that claimant was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits as of May 27, 1982, for voluntarily leaving her position without good cause attributable to her work in accordance with N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). Claimant appealed to the Board, which affirmed the decision of the Appeal Tribunal on the record below. This appeal followed.

Claimant contends essentially that the evidence fails to support the findings of the Appeal ...


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