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Stroli v. Board of Review

May 20, 2008

DEBORAH G. STROLI, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW AND BERGEN COMMUNITY BLOOD BANK, RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from the Department of Labor, Division of Unemployment and Disability Insurance, Docket No. 139,196.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 12, 2008

Before Judges Lihotz and Simonelli.

Appellant, Deborah G. Stroli (Stroli), appeals from a final decision of the Board of Review (the Board) that affirmed the Appeal Tribunal's determination that she was disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). We affirm.

The following facts are summarized from the record. Stroli began her employment as a registered nurse with the Bergen Community Blood Bank (BCBB) in June 1987. During the last four years of her employment, she was the trainer for donor services for the phlebotomist and the aphersis technician.

Stroli claims that in the beginning of July 2005, she began complaining, both orally and in writing, to her supervisor, Bernadette O'Keefe (O'Keefe), about working conditions at BCBB, and that her complaints were not being addressed. Stroli claimed that she was concerned because BCBB had been closed in May 2000 due to safety issues. However, Stroli admitted that she never made O'Keefe aware of the fact that she was not satisfied with the way O'Keefe was handling her complaints. She claimed she did not do so because she feared retaliation.

In a report dated November 29, 2006, the Quality Assurance Committee, comprised of Stroli and other co-workers, listed several workplace deficiencies, which were based upon Stroli's complaints. Before all of the deficiencies were resolved, Stroli tendered her resignation. Stroli decided to resign when O'Keefe directed her to add three more people to her training class, which increased the number of students to thirteen, a class size Stroli believed was unsafe. On November 30, 2007, Stroli issued a letter of resignation to O'Keefe, effective December 16, 2006, stating:

For nineteen years I have been a dedicated employee at Community Blood Services. I take pride in giving Quality service and will not compromise [the] high standards in training of Donor Services Employees.

I am put in a position that I feel may compromise the quality of service to the blood center, therefore I would rather resign than compromise the safety of the donors.

I am giving notice of resignation effective December 16, 2006.

Stroli never raised her safety concerns with anyone in the Human Services Department. She also did not consult the company's CEO, as she had done on a previous occasion, or the company's Vice President of Operations, who was O'Keefe's supervisor.

Regarding workplace safety, BCBB is regulated by ten international, federal and state agencies, and is inspected on an annual basis. As of the date of the hearing before the deputy director, BCBB had passed all of its inspections.

Stroli applied for unemployment benefits on December 17, 2006. A deputy claims examiner held her eligible for benefits without disqualification. BCBB appealed. The Appeal Tribunal reversed and determined that Stroli was disqualified for benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) because she left work voluntarily without good ...


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