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Ballard v. Board of Review

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 1, 2013

SAMUEL J. BALLARD, SR., Appellant,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Respondents.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted July 24, 2013

On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 272, 374.

Samuel J. Ballard, Sr., appellant, pro se.

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Lewis A. Scheindlin, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Lisa N. Lackay, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Before Judges Reisner and Yannotti.

PER CURIAM

Samuel J. Ballard, Sr. (Ballard) appeals from a final determination of the Board of Review (Board), which found that he was disqualified for unemployment benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) because he left his job voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. We affirm.

Ballard was employed by Bergen County Community Transportation as a bus driver, beginning in October 1976. He went on medical leave in December 2008, and remained on medical leave until the end of November 2009, when he retired. On January 24, 2010, Ballard filed a claim for unemployment benefits. A deputy claims examiner determined that Ballard was disqualified for unemployment benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) because he left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work.

Ballard sought review of the deputy's decision by the Appeal Tribunal, which conducted a hearing in the matter on June 17, 2010, and upheld the deputy's determination. Ballard appealed to the Board, which rendered a decision dated December 8, 2010, affirming the Appeal Tribunal's decision. Ballard appealed. We remanded the matter for a new hearing and decision.

The Appeal Tribunal conducted the hearing on March 19, 2012. At the hearing, Ballard testified that he suffered from certain medical issues, including a condition called trimethylaminuria, which caused his body to emit what he described as an offensive odor. Ballard said he did not know when he developed this condition, but suggested it could have been five years before he retired. He did not discuss this medical condition with his employer. Ballard believed stress aggravated the condition.

Dr. Edward Farkas, Ballard's psychiatrist, testified that in his opinion, Ballard was suffering from a delusional disorder. According to Dr. Farkas, Ballard believed that he smelled bad, which caused his passengers discomfort and made him stressful. Dr. Farkas said Ballard was unable to manage his anxiety and decided to leave his job.

Dr. Farkas further testified that he believed that Ballard smelled "fine" but Ballard believed that he smelled bad. Dr. Farkas stated that he thought Ballard's condition was delusional. Dr. Farkas was asked whether it was medically necessary for Ballard to leave his job, and he replied that, "I guess if you believe that you smell and you're working at a public place I would imagine it must be very difficult if not impossible."

Jack Funt, Ballard's counselor, testified that he had discussed a myriad of issues with Ballard, including his perception that he suffered from trimethylaminuria. Funt said that Ballard never complained of stress at work. Funt was ...


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