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Rivera v. Board of Review

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

November 20, 2013

DORA M. RIVERA, Appellant,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR and VITAQUEST INTERNATIONAL, LLC, Respondents.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued September 30, 2013

On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 359, 444.

Stanley G. Sheats argued the cause for appellant (Northeast New Jersey Legal Services, attorneys; Mr. Sheats, on the briefs).

Peter H. Jenkins, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent Board of Review (John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney; Lisa A. Puglisi, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Mr. Jenkins, on the brief).

Victoria Cioppettini argued the cause for respondent Vitaquest International, LLC. (Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard, P.A., attorneys; Ms. Cioppettini, on the brief).

Before Judges St. John and Leone.

PER CURIAM

Dora Rivera (Rivera) appeals from a final determination of the Board of Review (Board), which found that she was disqualified for unemployment benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) because she left her job voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. Our examination of the record satisfies us that the Board's final decision was properly premised on facts in the record and is consonant with relevant statutory provisions. Accordingly, we affirm.

An initial claim for unemployment benefits was filed as of September 25, 2011. A deputy claims examiner determined that Rivera was disqualified for unemployment benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) because she left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work.

Rivera sought review of the deputy's decision by the Appeal Tribunal, which conducted a hearing in the matter on February 21, 2012, and upheld the deputy's determination. Rivera appealed to the Board, which rendered a decision mailed on June 19, 2012, affirming the Appeal Tribunal's decision. It is from that decision that Rivera appeals.

At the Appeal Tribunal hearing, Rivera testified that she was employed by Vitaquest International, LLC as a machine operator and packer from February 1998 to July 27, 2011. On Tuesday, July 17, 2011, she was told by a supervisor that she needed to change her open shoes to shoes that covered her feet.[1]She was sent home and asked to return with the proper shoes. Rivera knew that it was company policy that she wear the required shoes but no one had ever noticed that she was not wearing the appropriate shoes because she wore pants that covered her shoes.

Rivera took vacation leave until she received her next paycheck, which she used to purchase the necessary shoes. She returned to work the next Monday wearing the required shoes. She worked on Tuesday, but when she got home her "feet were full of blisters, " which she showed to her supervisor on Wednesday when she returned to work. Rivera stated that her supervisor said her "feet didn't look good" and that she needed "to do something, " so Rivera went to the doctor.

Rivera went on disability leave from July 27 through September 7. On September 7, she was supposed to return to work, but she then called her supervisor and "told her that since I cannot wear . . . the kind of shoes, I won't be able to go back to work." During the period Rivera was on disability, she never requested a letter from her doctor to give to her employer requesting an accommodation for the shoes. Also, prior to leaving the company, Rivera never asked if ...


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