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Luberto v. Board of Review

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


January 4, 2010

BEVERLY LUBERTO, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, AND COUNTY OF BERGEN, RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from a Final Decision of the Board of Review, Docket No. 198,043.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 15, 2009

Before Judges Fuentes and Gilroy.

Claimant Beverly Luberto appeals from a final determination of the Board of Review (Board), finding her ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits. We affirm.

Claimant was employed as a clerk by the Bergen County Superintendent of Elections from March 17, 2005, through April 10, 2008, when she resigned from employment, contending that she had been verbally abused by a co-worker. However, claimant's letter of resignation did not specifically state a reason for leaving employment.

On July 6, 2008, claimant filed a petition for unemployment compensation benefits. On August 12, 2008, a Deputy Claims Examiner found claimant ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits, determining that claimant had left work voluntarily. On August 21, 2008, claimant filed an appeal with the Appeal Tribunal. After conducting a hearing on August 15, 2008, the Tribunal issued its decision on August 28, 2008, affirming the decision of the Deputy Claims Examiner. In so doing, the Tribunal reasoned:

The claimant did not advise the employer that she was requesting a transfer because of her working conditions. The only reason she gave the employer for the request was to work closer to home. The claimant did not avail herself of the grievance process nor did she discuss her concerns with the personnel department prior to resigning.

The claimant did not demonstrate that she took reasonable steps to remain employed or that she left for reasons sufficient enough to justify one leaving the ranks of the employed to join the ranks of the unemployed.

The claimant left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work. Therefore, she is disqualified for benefits as of [April 6, 2008] in accordance with N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a)

On November 3, 2008, claimant filed an appeal with the Board. On December 12, 2008, the Board affirmed the decision of the Appeal Tribunal.

On appeal, claimant argues: "Claimant's leaving her job with the County of Bergen in order to acquire a position in a less toxic environment constitutes good cause attributable to the work and, therefore, she should not have been disqualified for benefits."

Appellate courts have a limited role in reviewing decisions of an administrative agency. Circus Liquors, Inc. v. Middletown Twp., 199 N.J. 1, 9 (2009); In re Herrmann, 192 N.J. 19, 27 (2007). There should not be an independent assessment of the evidence by the appellate court. In re Taylor, 158 N.J. 644, 656 (1999). Thus, the determinations of administrative agencies must be given deference. Circus Liquors, supra, 199 N.J. at 10. Accordingly, "[w]ithout a 'clear showing' that it is arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable, or that it lacks fair support in the record, an administrative agency's final quasi-judicial decision should be sustained, regardless of whether a reviewing court would have reached a different conclusion in the first instance." Id. at 9.

We have considered claimant's argument in light of the record and applicable law. We conclude that her argument is without sufficient merit to warrant a discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We affirm substantially for the reasons expressed by the Appeal Tribunal and the Board in their respective decisions of October 28, 2008, and December 12, 2008.

R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(D).

Affirmed.

20100104

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