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White v. Board of Review

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


June 15, 2010

LINDA D. WHITE, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AND RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 220,679.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted June 3, 2010

Before Judges Graves and J.N. Harris.

Appellant Linda White (White) appeals from a final administrative decision of the Board of Review (the Board) dated June 22, 2009, affirming the Appeal Tribunal's decision to deny her application for unemployment benefits. The Appeal Tribunal found that White was disqualified from receiving benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) because "she left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work." We affirm.

The relevant facts pertaining to White's employment as a security officer were developed during a hearing on April 22, 2009, and were summarized in the Appeal Tribunal's decision as follows:

The claimant was employed as a security officer for [Rutgers University] from 12/91 through 01/09/09, when she was separated from employment because her driver's license was suspended for outstanding tickets.

In early November 2008 (after returning from medical leave) the claimant informed her employer that her license had been suspended due to her failure to pay outstanding traffic tickets.

The claimant was not aware of the exact date she could re-obtain her license, however her employer gave her until 01/05/09 to do so.

The claimant was unable to obtain her license by 01/05/09 and thus her employment was ended as of 01/09/09.

Possessing and maintaining a valid driver's license was a prerequisite of the claimant's employment as a security officer.

In reaching its decision, the Appeal Tribunal relied on N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.10(a), which provides as follows:

If an individual is discharged due to the loss of a prerequisite license which is necessary to perform the duties of his or her employment, such discharge shall subject the individual to disqualification for benefits for voluntarily leaving work if he or she engaged in an act which resulted in the loss of the license.

On appeal, White argues she "did not voluntarily leave her employer, but was terminated as a result of not being able to restore her license within the time period allotted by her employer because of factors beyond [her] control." There is no dispute, however, that White's employment required her to maintain a valid driver's license and her driving privileges were suspended because White neglected to pay her outstanding parking tickets. It is also clear that White's employer attempted to accommodate her by allowing her to continue working for approximately two months while she attempted to reinstate her driver's license. Under these circumstances, it was not unreasonable for the Board of Review to conclude that White's voluntary conduct rendered her unemployable as a Rutgers University security officer. See Yardville Supply Co. v. Bd. of Review, 114 N.J. 371, 377 (1989) (noting that when an employee's voluntary actions "lead to the loss of a prerequisite of employment, the employee leaves work voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a)").

"The judicial capacity to review administrative agency decisions is limited." Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 210 (1997). "Ordinarily, an appellate court will reverse the decision of [an] administrative agency only if it is arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable or it is not supported by substantial credible evidence in the record as a whole." Henry v. Rahway State Prison, 81 N.J. 571, 579-80 (1980) (citing Campbell v. Dep't of Civil Serv., 39 N.J. 556, 562 (1963)).

In the present matter, the Board's determination that White's loss of employment was attributable to her voluntary conduct is amply supported by sufficient credible evidence in the record, and the Board properly applied well-settled legal principles. Consequently, the Board's decision is not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable, and it will not be disturbed on appeal.

Affirmed.

20100615

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