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Joseph A. Rizzi, Jr v. Board of Review

June 1, 2011

JOSEPH A. RIZZI, JR., APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AND THE NIA GROUP, LLC, RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 51,409.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 11, 2011

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Fasciale.

In this most recent appeal, Joseph Rizzi appeals from an order and final decision disqualifying him for unemployment benefits.*fn1 Rizzi left his job as an insurance salesperson because he was dissatisfied with the time it would take to earn commissions sufficient to offset his draw. The Board of Review adopted the Appeal Tribunal's findings of fact and conclusion of law that Rizzi left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to his work. We agree and affirm.

NIA Group, LLC (NIA), a property, casualty, and life insurance brokerage firm, hired Rizzi in December 2003. Following an initial unpaid training period, Rizzi's compensation consisted of a biweekly salary for the first four months, later modified to six months. Thereafter, his compensation would have changed to a draw against commissions. The draw acts as an advance on any future commissions. Once Rizzi's commissions exceeded his draw, the earnings from his draw would be deducted from his commissions. This system of compensation allows employees, like Rizzi, to receive a steady cash flow until earnings from any commissions are received.

Peter Hutton, NIA's Vice-President of Sales, informed Rizzi when he was hired that one could earn a large enough commission to offset a draw in approximately six months. After working for a few months, Rizzi believed it would take him longer to generate business. Hutton explained that with some individuals it may take longer. Rizzi resigned six months after he was hired because he believed he could not produce enough commissions to offset the draw.

Rizzi filed a claim for unemployment benefits on September 5, 2004. The Appeal Tribunal denied the claim and explained that Rizzi was not entitled to unemployment benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). The statute states in pertinent part:

An individual shall be disqualified for benefits:

(a) For the week in which the individual has left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work, and for each week thereafter until the individual becomes reemployed . . . .

The term "good cause" is defined as "a reason related directly to the individual's employment, which was so compelling as to give the individual no choice but to leave the employment."

N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.1(b). "Mere dissatisfaction with working conditions which are not shown to be abnormal or do not affect health, does not constitute good cause . . . ." Domenico v. Bd. of Review, 192 N.J. Super. 284, 288 (App. Div. 1983) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). The Appeal Tribunal concluded that Rizzi resigned without good cause because he was dissatisfied with the time it would take him to earn commissions sufficient to offset his draw. The Board affirmed.

On appeal, Rizzi argues that he is entitled to unemployment benefits because his employer pressured or fraudulently induced him to leave work because he incurred debt by not earning enough money to offset his draw.

The role of this court in reviewing an administrative agency's final determination is exceedingly limited. In re ...


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