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Cotton v. Board of Review

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


March 20, 2008

TEAIR COTTON, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, FOOD BASICS, INC. AND FORTIS CONSULTING GROUP, LLC., RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 141,629. Teair Cotton, appellant, argued the cause pro se.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 5, 2008

Before Judges Lisa and Simonelli.

Appellant, Teair Cotton, appeals from a final decision of the Board of Review (Board) which affirmed a determination by the Appeal Tribunal that she was disqualified from benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) because she left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work.

From March 2, 2006 to January 13, 2007, plaintiff was employed on a part-time basis at minimum wage at Food Basics, Inc. as a cashier. She voluntarily quit that job for the sole purpose of obtaining better employment at Fortis Consulting Group, LLC. (Fortis) as an accounts payable clerk. Although appellant obtained this position as a temporary employee, she was hopeful that it would become a permanent position. The pay scale was higher than at Food Basics, Inc. Unfortunately, appellant worked only one day, January 15, 2007, and was discharged by Fortis because she was not deemed a good fit for the position.

Appellant applied for benefits. The deputy to the Director of the Division of Unemployment Insurance found that she was eligible for benefits with respect to Fortis because she was not discharged for misconduct connected with the work. However, the deputy determined that appellant was disqualified for benefits from January 7, 2007 because she voluntarily left her job at Food Basics, Inc. on January 13, 2007 for the sole purpose of obtaining other employment, which was not good cause attributable to the work. Appellant filed an administrative appeal with respect to the Food Basics, Inc. determination.

After a hearing, the Appeal Tribunal reached the same conclusion as the deputy. Appellant sought further administrative review, and the Board, after reviewing the record, upheld the decision of the Appeal Tribunal and further determined that appellant's disqualification resulting from her voluntary quit from Food Basics, Inc. was not tolled by her discharge by Fortis.

An applicant is disqualified for benefits "[f]or the week in which the individual has left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work, and for each week thereafter until the individual becomes reemployed and works four weeks in employment . . . and has earned . . . at least six times the individual's weekly benefit rate . . . ." N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). Voluntarily quitting one's job, with no reason attributable to the work at that job, but for the sole purpose of obtaining a better job does not constitute good cause attributable to the work. N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.1(e)9; Rider Coll. v. Bd. of Review, 167 N.J. Super. 42, 46-48 (App. Div. 1979).

Accordingly, while no one disputes that appellant's reason for leaving Food Basics, Inc. was for good cause, to enable her to better herself and earn more money to support herself and her children, the cause was personal to her, and not attributable to her work at Food Basics, Inc. For that reason, her disqualification from benefits became effective, and, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a), remains in effect indefinitely until she works the required additional weeks and earns the required additional pay. She did not fulfill this requirement. Therefore, the disqualification remained in effect, and was not affected by the one day of employment at Fortis.

The scope of our review is very limited. We will not interfere with the Board's decision unless it is arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable, or it is not supported by substantial credible evidence in the record as a whole. See Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 210-11 (1997). We are satisfied that the Board's decision was evidentially supported, in compliance with the governing law, and reasonable.

Therefore, the Board's final decision of April 17, 2007 is affirmed.

20080320

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