January 7, 2011
LUZ C. RIVERA, APPELLANT,
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND STRAYER UNIVERSITY, INC., RESPONDENTS.
On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 188,339.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 4, 2010 -
Before Judges Fuentes and Nugent.
Respondent Strayer University, Inc. has not filed a brief.
Luz C. Rivera appeals from the decision of the Board of Review denying her application for unemployment benefits. We affirm.
Appellant was employed as an admissions officer by Strayer University, Inc., from September 24, 2007, until she resigned on May 1, 2008. In a resignation letter addressed to Monica Sokoloff, the Director of the Cherry Hill Campus, appellant thanked her employer for the "opportunities that have been provided to [her]," and indicated that her decision to resign "was based on health issues nothing else."
It is undisputed that appellant has suffered from asthma since she was a child. She has been hospitalized due to this condition and takes prescription medication when warranted. Sokoloff testified before the Appeals Tribunal that appellant sent her an email on April 25, 2008, advising her that she had been experiencing breathing difficulties for the past two to three months. Although Sokoloff was aware that appellant suffered from asthma, she testified that this was the first notice she had ever received that appellant's respiratory condition was affecting her performance at work.
As a means of accommodating appellant's condition, Sokoloff relocated appellant's office to the eighth floor. Appellant decided to resign after spending only one day in her new office. According to Sokoloff, when she asked appellant why she was leaving, appellant said that she was having difficulty breathing in her new office. Although appellant's resignation letter advised Sokoloff that she was giving her employer two weeks notice, appellant left work that same day. Sokoloff testified that she telephoned appellant a number of times to speak to her about medical insurance coverage, but appellant did not return any of Sokoloff's messages.
On this evidence, the Appeals Tribunal found appellant ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits. The Tribunal found that appellant voluntarily resigned from her position for personal reasons unrelated to the work and was thus disqualified for benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). The Board affirmed the Appeals Tribunal's decision without modification.
Our standard of review of a final decision of a State administrative agency is limited to determining whether the decision is arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. Lourdes Med. Ctr. of Burlington Cnty. v. Bd. of Review, 197 N.J. 339, 360 (2009). A person who leaves work for medical reasons may qualify for unemployment benefits, provided that he or she submits unequivocal medical evidence that the work caused or aggravated the health problem. Wojcik v. Bd. of Review, 58 N.J. 341, 344 (1971).
In her pro se brief submitted in support of this appeal, appellant does not disclose a legal basis for overturning the Board's decision. Independent of this, we discern no legal basis to do so. Appellant did not produce any medical evidence that her job duties aggravated her asthma. Her personal assertions are legally insufficient to meet this burden of proof. The Board's decision denying unemployment compensation benefits is "supported by sufficient credible evidence on the record as whole." R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(D).
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