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Fisher v. Board of Review

September 8, 2010

JULIE LYNNE FISHER, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND RESCARE, INC., RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 188,604.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted August 31, 2010

Before Judges LeWinn and J.N. Harris.

Appellant appeals from the December 5, 2008 Final Decision of the Board of Review (Board) affirming the decision of the Appeal Tribunal finding that she left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work, disqualifying her for unemployment benefits and requiring her to refund benefits previously paid. We affirm.

The factual background pertinent to our decision may be summarized as follows, based upon the evidence presented before the Appeal Tribunal. Appellant was employed as "a social development manager[,]" with Edison Job Corps (Edison) at a facility known as Rescare, a juvenile residential facility. She began full-time employment there on October 9, 2007. On her application, she had stated that she had "two doctorates[] . . . . [Her employer] referred to her as Dr. Fisher and . . . paid her on the scale of being a doctor . . . ."

Apparently, however, appellant never provided credentials supporting the two doctorates claimed on her application, notwithstanding numerous requests for such information from her employer. Appellant claimed that she had her secretary, Warliene Allston, send the necessary documentation to Terry McDonald, Human Resources Manager at appellant's worksite. McDonald, however, testified that she never received such documentation.

The gravamen of appellant's claims as to why she left employment related to alleged acts of sexual harassment by Lee Matthews, the director of Rescare. Appellant claimed that she filed grievances with her employer, specifically with Matthew Westfall, the Director of Labor Relations at Edison. Westfall investigated and interviewed Matthews who denied the allegations. Westfall concluded that appellant's claims were unsubstantiated, as there were no witnesses and the situation was one of appellant's claims versus Matthews' denials.

Westfall also testified that, from the day appellant was hired, he and other representatives of the employer constantly asked her to provide credentials as to her claimed doctorates.

On February 22, 2008, McDonald informed Julie Caldwell, the Human Resources Director for Rescare, that appellant had failed to provide proof of her claimed doctorate degrees. Caldwell then determined that appellant would be suspended for failure to comply with this requirement. On March 5, 2008, Caldwell advised appellant that she had until April 9, 2008 to provide the required documentation or face termination.

Westfall also met with appellant to discuss her failure to provide proof of her doctorate degrees, and stated that he advised appellant that she would be terminated for falsifying her job application if she did not provide the necessary documentation. This conversation took place in a meeting between appellant and Westfall on March 28, 2008. At that time, appellant stated that she would resign, but she sought a severance package. Westfall then offered her such a package, which she accepted.

At no time did appellant provide either her employer or the Appeal Tribunal hearing officer with proof of her doctorate degrees, notwithstanding a specific request by the hearing officer at the conclusion of the first hearing day that appellant fax the documentation to the officer.

Allston testified as a witness on behalf of appellant; however, she was never asked specifically regarding appellant's claim that Allston had sent the required credentials to McDonald. Allston was, however, aware that appellant had been suspended. When the hearing officer concluded her questioning of Allston, she asked appellant if she had "any questions" ...


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