August 14, 2008
MARCIN KRZYZANOWSKI, APPELLANT,
BOARD OF REVIEW AND EBI HOLDINGS, INC., RESPONDENTS.
On appeal from a Final Decision of the Board of Review, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, 135,763.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted August 6, 2008
Before Judges R. B. Coleman and Sabatino.
Claimant Marcin Krzyzanowski, pro se, appeals the Board of Review's final agency decision of March 2, 2007 determining him ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. We affirm.
The relevant facts are straightforward. Claimant was employed as a screw machine operator for EBI Holdings, Inc. ("EBI") in Parsippany. He worked for EBI from July 15, 1992 until September 6, 2006, when he was discharged.
Claimant then filed for unemployment benefits. His claim was denied by the Division of Unemployment Insurance in December 2006. The denial was reaffirmed by the Appeal Tribunal after it conducted a telephonic hearing with claimant in January 2007. The Tribunal also found that claimant was obligated to refund three weeks of benefits that had been paid to him in October and November 2006 before his ineligibility was ascertained. Claimant petitioned to the Board of Review, which upheld the Tribunal's ineligibility finding.
By claimant's own admission, he has been in poor health and has not been capable of working since the time of his discharge. According to his testimony before the Tribunal, claimant has been "very sick" as the result of injuries to his back, head, neck and "pain all over [his] body." He acknowledges that he has not been looking for work, and that he will be unable to work unless and until his medical problems are cured.
The clear terms of the unemployment compensation laws enacted by our Legislature prescribe that a person may not collect unemployment benefits unless he "is able to work, and is available for work, and has demonstrated to be actively seeking work." N.J.S.A. 43:21-4(c). This eligibility requirement applies, regardless of whether the worker was discharged through no fault of his own. Hence, pursuant to the plain language of the statute, claimant is ineligible for benefits because he unfortunately is too ill to seek or obtain work.
In appealing the Board of Review's final decision, claimant argues that he should receive benefits because he "didn't make any mistake," that he is "very ill," and that he and his family have lost needed earnings and health insurance. Although we are sympathetic with claimant's situation, the inescapable truth is that he simply is not eligible under the law to collect unemployment benefits.*fn1 The Board's decision was neither arbitrary nor capricious, and it comported with the governing law. Consequently, we are obligated to sustain it, without prejudice to claimant's potential recourse under other statutes and legal theories. See, e.g., Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 210 (1997); Doering v. Bd. of Review, 203 N.J. Super. 241, 245 (App. Div. 1985).