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Carrano v. Board of Review


October 9, 2007


On appeal from a Final Decision of the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 99,514.

Per curiam.


Submitted October 1, 2007

Before Judges S.L. Reisner and Baxter.

Roseann Carrano appeals from a final determination of the Board of Review denying her claim for unemployment benefits because she left her job voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. N.J.S.A. 43:21-5. We affirm.

At Carrano's first hearing on January 27, 2006, the employer was not present. Carrano testified that she was employed as a general manager at Stretch Professional Cleaning Services from February 2001 to December 20, 2005. She testified that on December 20, she and Kevin Stretch, the company's owner, got into a heated argument over her decision to submit evaluations of certain company employees. She denied that anyone used profanity, but claimed the argument lasted about ten minutes. According to Carrano, at some point Stretch told her to "leave the premises." She understood this to mean that she was fired. She testified that she went home and did not call Stretch thereafter, nor did he call her. She admitted that she and Stretch had previous arguments over working conditions, but they had resolved those issues by the prior October. However, she thought she was fired this time "[b]ecause of the tone of the conversation and the way he told me to leave."

At the January hearing, Carrano referred to an e-mail from the company that placed immigrant workers at the cleaning company, telling one of the workers that she no longer had a job at Stretch Cleaning and that Mr. Stretch "has since, fired the general manager who had extended the offer for an extended training program."

Based on this testimony, the examiner concluded that Carrano should not be disqualified for benefits. However, the employer appealed the decision, contending that Stretch was not given an opportunity to participate in the telephone hearing. The Board remanded the matter for a second hearing at which the employer would be permitted to participate.

At the second hearing, on March 24, 2006, Carrano again testified that on December 20, 2005, Stretch called her into his office to discuss her evaluation of two employees. She contended that the door was closed during their discussion. She admitted that they had an argument in which they both raised their voices, but neither of them used profanity. Stretch did not tell her she was fired, but did tell her to "leave." She contended that she "didn't know" what Stretch meant by "leave;" she just left "like [she] was told." She never called him after that to discuss going back to work. She also testified that Stretch treated his employees unfairly and she was dissatisfied with the way he ran the business. She contended Stretch never called her after she left on December 20.

According to Stretch, who testified at the hearing, Carrano quit. He testified that he was upset that Carrano extended the visas for the two workers when he no longer wished to have them working for his company. He testified that when he tried to discuss the matter, Carrano started yelling at him, using profanity, and screaming about the way he ran the business. Finally, she "said FU I'm outta here." Stretch then said "fine go," believing that Carrano was just leaving for the day. He thought that they would resolve the matter later as they had resolved other arguments in the past. He denied telling Carrano that she was fired. The next day he called Carrano's cell phone to see if she was coming back. He left her a two-minute message, which he corroborated with telephone records. He also called her after the Christmas holidays. He denied telling the agency that he had fired Carrano; he told them she no longer worked for him.

Stretch contended that another employee, Samuel Bailey was present in the hallway and heard Carrano screaming at him. Bailey testified that he heard Stretch speaking sternly to Carrano but not yelling at her, and heard Carrano yelling at Stretch and using profanity. He also heard Carrano say "FU I'm outta here."

Based on this testimony and the testimony from the January 27 hearing, the Appeals Examiner determined that Carrano voluntarily left work after an argument with Stretch. He found that Stretch did attempt to contact Carrano by telephone and left her a voice message asking her to call back. He concluded that Carrano "left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work." The Board affirmed the decision of the Appeals Examiner.

Our review of the Board's decision is limited to determining whether it is supported by substantial credible evidence in the record. See Barry v. Arrow Pontiac, Inc., 100 N.J. 57, 71 (1985). Having carefully reviewed the record, we conclude that there is ample credible evidence to support the Board's conclusion that Carrano was not fired but rather that she voluntarily quit. The fact that she was angry over the way Stretch ran the business does not constitute good cause attributable to the work. See N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a); Gerber v. Bd. of Review, 313 N.J. Super. 37, 40 (App. Div. 1998).



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