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Crystal Mandall v. Board of Review

February 10, 2012

CRYSTAL MANDALL, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, NJ TEAM DENTAL CENTER, PA, RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 290,576.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 1, 2012

Before Judges Waugh and St. John.

Appellant Crystal Mandall appeals from the final agency decision of respondent Department of Labor, Board of Review (Board), denying her application for unemployment benefits. We affirm.

Mandall was employed as a dental assistant by respondent New Jersey Team Dental Center, PA (Dental Center), from November 2007 until her termination in April 2010. She was a valued employee of the Dental Center prior to her termination. On April 20, she was arrested on criminal charges, some of which had been dismissed at the time the Board's letter brief was filed. She kept in touch with the Dental Center through a relative, promising to return to work as soon as she was released. She remained incarcerated until May 1.

On the day of her release, Mandall sent a text message to the Dental Center stating that she would return to work on the next business day. She was informed that she had been replaced because of the length of her absence. Although the dentist for whom she had worked at the Dental Center sought to assist her in finding other employment, those efforts were not successful.

Mandall applied for unemployment benefits on May 23. She received unemployment payments for two weeks, but was then notified that she was not eligible for benefits because she had left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. See N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). She appealed that determination to the Appeal Tribunal. Following a telephonic hearing on August 11, the Appeal Tribunal found that Mandall was not qualified to receive benefits. She appealed that decision to the Board, which affirmed on February 24, 2011. This appeal followed.

The scope of our review of administrative agency action is limited and highly deferential. It is restricted to the following inquiries:

(1) whether the agency's decision offends the State or Federal Constitution;

(2) whether the agency's action violates express or implied legislative policies;

(3) whether the record contains substantial evidence to support the findings on which the agency based its action; and

(4) whether in applying the legislative policies to the facts, the agency clearly erred in reaching a conclusion that could not reasonably have been made on a showing of the relevant factors. [Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 211 (1997) (quoting George Harms Constr. Co. v. N.J. Tpk. Auth., 137 N.J. 8, 27 (1994)).]

So long as the Board's decision is supported by sufficient credible evidence in the record and was neither "arbitrary, capricious, [nor] unreasonable," it will be affirmed. Id. at 210 ...


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