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Mateo v. Board of Review

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 20, 2013

LUIS F. MATEO, Appellant,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW and HUDSON HEALTHCARE INC., Respondents.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued October 8, 2013

On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 384, 112.

Luretha M. Stribling argued the cause for appellant.

Robert M. Strang, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent Board of Review (John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney; Lewis A. Scheindlin, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Mr. Strang, on the brief).

Respondent Hudson Healthcare Inc. has not filed a brief.

Before Judges Alvarez and Ostrer.

PER CURIAM

Claimant Luis F. Mateo appeals from the Board of Review's decision that he was ineligible for unemployment benefits because he voluntarily left his job without good cause attributable to his work. We affirm.

I.

The principal factual dispute in the case involves whether defendant, a "facilities specialist" at a community mental health center, had permission to be absent from work, in order to take a vacation in Puerto Rico between March 10 and 24, 2012. Mateo asserts his supervisor approved his vacation-based absence. His employer, Hudson Healthcare Inc. (Hudson) asserts that Mateo's supervisor denied approval. Consequently, Mateo left his job without good cause attributable to his work, and was terminated upon his return from Puerto Rico.

In a notice of determination dated April 17, 2012, the Division of Unemployment Insurance found that Mateo was disqualified for benefits because he left work voluntarily by taking an unapproved vacation. Mateo appealed the denial.

After conducting a testimonial hearing by telephone on October 10 and 11, 2012, the Appeal Tribunal found the testimony of Mateo's supervisors more credible than Mateo's.

Mateo booked the March 10 to 24, 2012, vacation in September 2011. In November, the clinic was purchased and placed under new senior management. Mateo did not request permission for the vacation until January 19, 2012, when he submitted a standard vacation request form. Mateo did not obtain his supervisor's signature on the form to indicate his request was approved. Mateo's supervisor was Janet Meissner, the office manager who had also worked under the prior management.

Mateo testified that the lack of a signature reflected indecision. He asserted that he asked Meissner to rule on his request in the middle of February and she responded that she could not decide, but refused to explain why. On March 1, Mateo renewed his request to Meissner, and to Dr. Vicki Barnett, who was Meissner's supervisor and the director of psychology and outpatient services. Mateo claimed they still did not have an answer for him. He testified he asked ...


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