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Silent Type, Inc. v. Board of Review

November 5, 2008

SILENT TYPE, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND ROSEANNE GENUARDI SCHULTZ, RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, 148,737.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued: October 8, 2008

Before Judges Cuff and Fisher.

Appellant Silent Type, Inc., the employer of claimant Roseanne Genuardi Schultz, appeals from a final order of the Board of Review (the Board) that found claimant eligible to receive unemployment benefits. The Board held that the employer's unilateral alteration of claimant's work hours was related to her work and her resignation was founded on good cause attributable to her work. We affirm.

Claimant left her work as an administrative assistant at Silent Type on March 26, 2007. She applied for unemployment benefits and her employer protested the application. Following a hearing, the Appeal Tribunal found that claimant commenced her employment in January 2001. Her hours of work were 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. She was chronically late due to traffic encountered during her commute from her home in Clifton to her place of employment in Fort Lee. Although her employer was upset by her chronic tardiness, claimant was not disciplined.

The Appeal Tribunal also found that Silent Type moved in mid-February 2007 from Fort Lee to Englewood. For the first two weeks, claimant arrived on time. Thereafter, she began to arrive fifteen to twenty minutes late three or four times a week. On March 19, 2007, claimant's supervisor requested her to think about altering her hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Claimant resisted the change because the change gave her insufficient time to arrive at her child's after-school program by 5:30 p.m. On March 23, 2007, claimant's supervisor informed claimant that her hours of work would be changed effective March 26 to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Claimant protested because her daughter's after-school program closed at 5:30 p.m. Claimant proposed a compromise whereby she would arrive at 8:45 a.m. and depart at 4:45 p.m.

On Monday, March 26, claimant arrived at 8:45 a.m. Her supervisor informed her that claimant's compromise was not acceptable and that she could not make an exception to accommodate claimant's child care needs. Claimant left her employment that morning.

The Appeal Tribunal concluded that claimant's child care arrangements and needs were a personal reason for leaving her employment. Therefore, it found that she was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits in accordance with the terms of N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a).

The Board disagreed with the legal conclusion of the Appeal Tribunal. Moreover, while adopting the Appeal Tribunal findings as substantially correct, the Board supplemented the findings of fact. It expressly found that the after-school program in which claimant's child participated ends at 5:30 p.m. and the program expects the child to be picked up no later than 5:30 p.m.

Therefore, the Board rejected the Appeal Tribunal finding that the unilateral alteration of work hours was insubstantial.

The Board proceeded to hold that "[w]henever the cause for a resignation arises as a result of some change in the working conditions initiated by the employer, the cause is attributable to such work. Whether or not the resignation is with or without good cause attributable to such work must be determined by the facts in each case." The Board found claimant left her employment due to the change of hours, the change in work hours was a cause attributable to the work, the change in work hours was substantial, and provided claimant good cause within the meaning of the statute.

N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) governs disqualification from receipt of unemployment benefits when a person leaves employment without good cause attributable to the work; it provides

For 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 in employment ...


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