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Lydia Oladimeji v. Board of Review

February 9, 2012

LYDIA OLADIMEJI, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AND ARC OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 272,429.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 21, 2011

Before Judges Axelrad and Sapp-Peterson.

Claimant, Lydia Oladimeji, appeals from the denial of unemployment benefits based upon a determination by the Board of Review (Board) that she voluntarily left employment without good cause attributable to her employment. We affirm.

Claimant filed a claim for unemployment benefits on January 17, 2010. Her claim was rejected based upon a determination by a deputy director of the Division of Unemployment Insurance that she was disqualified for benefits because she left employment voluntarily without good cause attributable to her work. Claimant appealed the deputy's determination to the Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal). An appeals examiner conducted a telephonic hearing on April 12, 2010.

During the hearing, claimant testified that she was employed as a program specialist for the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) of Middlesex County. She had been with ARC for four years and had previously sought to change her work hours to attend school, but was unable to do so as no position was available. On January 8, 2010, she requested a transfer to a group home position in order to attend nursing school during the day. She submitted the request to Sandy Bergquist, the Director of Vocational Services. Thereafter, she followed up on her request with telephone calls, but was not given a definitive response as to whether the transfer had been approved. She was then told that she would have to write a letter indicating that she would no longer be available for work in the day program as of January 25, 2010.

As requested, she submitted a letter advising that she would no longer be available for work as of January 25, 2010, for personal reasons. She continued to report to work until January 21. On that date, she called Shari Wright, one of the directors at ARC, to discuss the transfer request she submitted on January 8. Claimant told Wright that since she submitted the request, she had attempted to find out its status, but "every time . . . [she] call[ed] Preeti [Dixit, ARC's Human Resources Coordinator,] she seem[ed] kind of [in]different . . . . [Dixit] told [claimant she] submitted [it] today and it's approved[, her] transfer. But [claimant] sent [her] a resignation." In response, claimant told Dixit that she "did not resign."

Dixit testified that claimant spoke to her about a transfer, but she told claimant that a transfer involves a process and at that time, she had no full-time positions available for the afternoon or evening shifts. She also told claimant that she would have to be interviewed and "then she might be approved[,] she might not be approved." Dixit indicated that on January 15, she received the letter from claimant advising that January 25 would be her last day, which ARC accepted as claimant's resignation.

Bergquist testified that claimant approached her in the fall of 2009 and advised that she was thinking about leaving ARC because of school, but that did not occur. Claimant spoke to her again in January, told her that she was going back to school and could no longer work the hours she was currently working, and asked about a change in her work schedule. Bergquist explained that claimant requested a day off for school, which she could not accommodate. She denied asking claimant to resign.

In rebuttal, claimant testified Dixit never told her that her transfer request might not be approved and that both Bergquist and her coordinator, Erica Fischer, told her that she had to write the letter stating that she would not be working "as of Monday[, January] 25th." Dixit, in her rebuttal testimony, stated:

Yes[,] the only thing that I would like to say is we're not using the letter as her resignation[.] [W]hat we are saying is she resigned from that position which she could not work and we did not have any part-time hours at the program. So the point is she would not have been able to work from Monday[,] whether she resigned[,] or based on the letter or not based on [the] letter. The point is she could not work at that program because of her school. And since we did not have any positions in the residential for her[,] so it is a resignation.

. . . It is a resignation because she could not work at the program because of her school. And we did not have any positions for her in the other programs in the residential[.] [I]t is a resignation from the job because she wouldn't have come to the job for Monday.

In her final rebuttal, claimant testified that had she been told the transfer process was going to be longer, she would have pursued enrolling in a March class and that Fischer made her write the letter to make it "look ...


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