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Sandra Caldwell v. Board of Review

July 18, 2011

SANDRA CALDWELL, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AND KEYSKILLS LEARNING, INC., RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 199,554.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 9, 2011

Before Judges Lisa and Alvarez.

Claimant Sandra Caldwell appeals from the August 25, 2009 Board of Review (Board) final decision affirming the denial of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008 (EUC) benefits.

See Pub. L. No. 110-252, Title IV, 122 Stat. 2323, 2353-57 (2008) (note to and amending 26 U.S.C.A. § 3304). For the reasons that follow, we affirm the Board's determination that Caldwell was not actively seeking work and was unavailable for work for the period July 12, 2008, to May 2, 2009.

Caldwell's only point on appeal is:

THE APPEAL TRIBUNAL'S FINDING OF INELIGIBILITY FOR PURS[U]ING SELF-EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES OUTSIDE THE COURSE OF THE NORMAL WORKDAY IMPLIED THAT THE APPELLANT WAS NOT ACTIVELY SEEKING WORK BUT PARTIALLY ACTIVELY SEEKING WORK IS ERRONEOUS AS A MATTER OF LAW AND [] CONTRARY TO THE GOALS OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT ACT AND, THEREFORE, CLAIMANT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DISQUALIFIED FOR EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (EUC)

FROM JULY 12, 2008 TO MAY 2, 2009.

On February 20, 2008, Caldwell applied for benefits under the Self-Employment Assistance and Entrepreneurial Training Act (SEA), N.J.S.A. 43:21-67 to -70. Those benefits ended on July 12, 2008, after which she applied for additional unemployment benefits.

For "issue clarification," Caldwell completed a statement at the agency's request dated October 2, 2008, which asked if, during the period of time she was seeking EUC benefits, she had been engaged in self-employment activities. She responded in the affirmative. She also answered in the affirmative to the question, "[a]re you continuing to pursue this self-employment on a full-time basis?" Additionally, Caldwell stated that she worked some sixty hours per week in her computer business.

Because Caldwell's October 2008 statement did not indicate that she was available for employment, or detail her efforts at securing employment, the Deputy Director of the Division of Unemployment Insurance (Director) denied her claim for benefits on October 27, 2008. Caldwell appealed to the Tribunal and a hearing was subsequently conducted on November 13, 2008, after which it affirmed the Deputy's determination. On December 9, 2008, Caldwell appealed the decision to the Board. On March 13, 2009, the Board remanded the matter for additional testimony as to her availability for work. The Tribunal conducted a second hearing on May 19, 2009. Its subsequent decision modified the earlier denial only to the extent that Caldwell was deemed eligible for benefits from May 3, 2009 through May 16, 2009, as she established that during those weeks she was available for work and actively seeking employment. See N.J.S.A. 43:21-4(c)(1).

Even when she testified at the first appeal hearing, Caldwell indicated she was still devoting time to her business, and was actively engaged in writing course curricula on her computer. During the relevant time frame, Caldwell could not document efforts at securing other employment other than claiming e-mail contact with employment agencies, that she had visited career centers and job fairs, and had applied for eight bartending jobs.

By the time of the second hearing, Caldwell was working on a per diem basis as a substitute teacher. In an effort to establish her compliance with the Tribunal's request that she document her efforts to locate work, Caldwell provided a letter from the SEA program coordinator at Essex County Community College. Unfortunately, that letter did not specify the jobs for ...


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