July 16, 2009
MICHAEL A. SABIA, APPELLANT,
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AND GENERATIONS PHYSICAL MEDICINE, LLC, DANIEL H. GROSSMAN, D.C., RESPONDENTS.
On appeal from Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 160,708.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 15, 2008
Before Judges Skillman and Collester.
Appellant Michael Sabia appeals from the final administrative decision of the Board of Review disqualifying him for unemployment benefits as of August 5, 2007 on grounds that he left work voluntarily without good cause.
Appellant worked for Generations Physical Medicine as a chiropractor from February 9, 2007 through August 6, 2007, when he left his place of employment and filed a claim for unemployment benefits. He asserts that he left his job because he observed the office manager and the physical therapist engaged in fraudulent billing procedures by changing records and billing codes so that insurance companies would cover spinal decompression treatment and make payment to the office. He also claimed that the trade name under which the employer was operating was improper because it implied that the office was a medical facility.
Dr. Daniel H. Grossman testified before the Appeal Tribunal examiner that while appellant approached him regarding concerns about the business name, he never said anything about fraudulent billing procedures or falsification of records. Dr. Grossman testified that any billing codes for spinal decompression were entered by the physical therapist who was in charge of the patient. He said that on the day appellant quit his job, he requested to meet with him at 7:15 that evening. However, defendant did not attend the meeting and left in the middle of the workday, telling the office manager, "I'm tired of working for an idiot. Please have him mail my check to me."
The Appeal Tribunal examiner made the following findings:
The claimant contended that the employer was committing insurance fraud due to the medical billing. The claimant did not know the employer's system for billing. He made the allegation, but had no knowledge or training on the employer's billing system. Therefore, his contention is rejected.
The claimant also contended that the physical therapist was changing his notes. The evidence gathered supports that the physical therapist made her own notes on the chart if she also treated the patient. Therefore, the contention is rejected.
It is also interesting to note that the claimant did not deny calling the employer an "idiot." His testimony was that he did not recall. His lack of recall, not the denial of the remark, leads this Tribunal to believe that he made the remark and did not want to state such on the record. The lack of recall does not outweigh the witness' sworn testimony that the claimant made the remark.
The employer was willing to address the claimant's concerns as he had scheduled a meeting. The claimant's action in not attending the meeting showed he was not interested in addressing or resolving the issues he was having. Thus combined with all the noted, this Tribunal finds the employer more credible.
The Appeal Tribunal examiner held that appellant's action in quitting work without attempting to resolve the issues in dispute was without good cause attributable to the work, disqualifying him for benefits in accordance with N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a).
Following appellant's administrative appeal, the Board of Review reviewed the record and affirmed the Appeal Tribunal examiner's findings of fact and opinion that appellant was disqualified for benefits in accordance with N.J.S.A. 43:21- 5(a). The decision of the Board of Review is supported by sufficient credible evidence in the record as a whole. R. 2:11- 3. We affirm substantially for the reasons set forth in the Appeal Tribunal's decision as affirmed by the Board of Review.
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