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Moody v. Board of Review

June 16, 2008

ROBERT N. MOODY, JR., APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND MAINLAND TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENTS.



On appeal the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 126,225.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 27, 2008

Before Judges Parker and R. B. Coleman.

Claimant Robert N. Moody, Jr. appeals pro se from a January 5, 2007 Final Decision of the Board of Review (the Board), finding that Moody was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits as of August 6, 2006 in accordance with N.J.S.A. 43:21- 5(a) because he voluntarily left work. The Board further found that Moody was liable for benefits he received during the period of disqualification. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal and applicable law, we affirm.

Moody was an employee of Mainland Transportation, LLC (Mainland) for several years. On August 11, 2006, Paul Phillippy, the owner of Mainland, called Moody into his office to discuss Moody's pay sheet. This meeting resulted in an argument that prompted Moody to leave work for the day. There was no contact between the parties until August 18, 2006, when Moody appeared at the Mainland office to pick up a paycheck. Thereafter, Moody did not return to work, believing that he had been terminated as a result of the argument he had with Phillippy.

Proceeding as though Phillippy had terminated his employment, Moody filed for unemployment compensation benefits. On August 29, 2006, a Division of Unemployment Insurance Deputy determined that Moody was "ELIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS FROM 08/06/06." Mainland appealed the Deputy's decision, contending that Moody was discharged for misconduct connected with his work, rendering him disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. On October 31, 2006, the Appeal Tribunal conducted a telephone hearing with both Moody and Phillippy appearing.*fn1 The Appeals Examiner elicited the following pertinent testimony. Phillippy stated that on August 11, 2007, "I was going over his pay sheet and it was just totally distorted and . . . when he came in I ask [sic] him about it and . . . I started questioning him he became insulted . . . and he became very loud and disruptive, you know telling me I was, you know stealing from him . . . ." Phillippy further stated that:

I told him to go ahead and get out of [the] building and then it went from get out the building and stop screaming to, you know just go for the day[.] [J]ust go home [.] And then he started trying to turn it into, you know you fire me for good[,] you want me to leave for good[.] I said, "no Bob it's for the day[,] get out."

Phillippy testified that he placed a letter in the envelope with Moody's paycheck, which Moody picked up on August 18, 2006, that reads as follows:*fn2

ROBERT, YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO RETURN TO WORK ON 8/29/2006 UNDER THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS.

1. LETTER OF APOLOGY IN REGARDS TO CALLING PAUL [PHILLIPPY] A THIEF IN REGARDS TO PAYING EMPLOYEE'S [SIC].

2. HANDING IN UNCOMPLETED DRUG TESTS AND ACCIDENT REPORTS FOR ACPD.

Phillippy maintained that Moody did not respond to the letter and that he attempted to reach him by phone but Moody did not return his phone calls. Phillippy indicated that he never discharged Moody.

Moody testified that on the day of the argument that he was not yelling and screaming. Moody claimed that Phillippy told him to "get the F out of my office[,]" prompting him to leave the premises. Moody acknowledged that Phillippy told him to just go home for the day but stated that later Phillippy screamed at him and said "I tell you what[,] get the F off my property and don't ever come back . . . ." Moody stated that when he picked up his check, the envelope did not contain a letter from Phillippy ...


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