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Perez v. Board of Review

May 20, 2010


On appeal from a Final Decision of the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 214,300.

Per curiam.


Submitted April 19, 2010

Before Judges Rodríguez and Yannotti.

Raul I. Perez (Perez) appeals from a final determination of the Board of Review, which found that he was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) because he left his job voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. We affirm.

The following facts are pertinent to our decision. Beginning in October 1, 2007, Perez was employed by New York Forwarding Services, Inc. (NYFS). He resigned his position with the company on October 31, 2008, and filed a claim for unemployment benefits, effective November 2, 2008. On December 24, 2008, the Deputy Director of the Division of Unemployment and Disability Insurance mailed a determination to Perez, informing him that he was disqualified from receiving benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a).

Perez sought review of the Deputy Director's determination by the Appeal Tribunal, which conducted a hearing in the matter on March 18, 2009. Perez testified that he worked in NYFS's accounting department and resigned because he and management "had been having differences in" certain areas. Perez said that he believed that he was being "systematically" removed from his position because his job duties were being delegated to other workers.

Perez was asked if management had given him an explanation for the reassignment of his job duties to others. Perez said that "they were shifting within the company." He also said that Ahmed Singer (Singer), the company's owner and president, informed him that the company's payroll budget had to be reduced. Perez acknowledged, however, that he was not told that he was going to be laid off at any particular time.

Perez additionally testified that on October 23, 2008, Singer called him into a meeting with twelve other employees of the company. Perez said that the objective of the meeting was "to badger" him. At the meeting, Singer reviewed "things" that Perez had done wrong. Perez stated that he was embarrassed by the incident and told Singer that, if he needed to say something to him in the future, he should do so in private.

Perez further testified that, after that meeting, he worked on closing the company's accounts for the fiscal year. He stated that, in twenty-five years, the company had never closed its books on time and always had to ask for an extension. However, Perez told Singer that they were "going to get this done this year on time."

As the company was about to close it books for the third quarter of 2008, Perez met with an "outside" certified public accountant (CPA), the company had engaged. According to Perez, the CPA criticized his work in an insulting manner. Perez said that he could not "take any more of it" and resigned, effectively immediately. Perez stated that, after he resigned, his employer told him that his job would eventually have been eliminated.

In a decision mailed on March 18, 2009, the Appeal Tribunal found that Perez was disqualified from unemployment benefits as of October 26, 2008, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a), because he left work voluntarily, without good cause attributable to the work. The Appeal Tribunal stated:

In this matter, the claimant left his job for two reasons. He did not like the way he was being treated by the employer and the CPA and also because he [felt] his job would not last much longer because his responsibilities were being delegated to others. Although it may be reasonable to assume that one's job would end under the same circumstances, the claimant did not have a date that the job would end prior to his resignation. Therefore, he is not protected under [N.J.A.C.] 12:17-9.5. Also, the employer's treatment of him during the meeting was an isolated incident and is not good cause for leaving a job. Also, his confrontation with the CPA does not rise to the level of good cause for leaving.

The Appeal Tribunal accordingly affirmed the Deputy Director's denial of benefits. Perez filed an appeal to the Board, which mailed its final decision in the matter on May 20, 2009, affirming the ...

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