TAMYRA L. COTTMAN, Appellant,
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, and QUALITY MANAGEMENT COMPANY, Respondents.
Submitted February 12, 2018
appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor and
Workforce Development, Docket No. 101, 930.
L. Cottman, appellant pro se.
S. Grewal, Attorney General, attorney for respondent Board of
Review (Jason W. Rockwell, Assistant Attorney General, of
counsel; Jessica M. Saxon, Deputy Attorney General, on the
Respondent Quality Management Company has not filed a brief.
Judges Sabatino, Ostrer and Whipple.
L. Cottman appeals from a November 23, 2016 Board of Review
order, affirming the Appeal Tribunal's decision denying
her unemployment benefits. The Tribunal found that Cottman
voluntarily quit her job without good cause related to the
work. See N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). We reverse.
quit after her child care arrangements fell through. She had
been working as a residential counselor at a group home for
Quality Management Associates, Inc., since April 1, 2016. She
worked overnight from 11:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., Saturday
through Tuesday. Before her shift started on August 24, 2016,
Cottman's babysitter unexpectedly quit. Cottman has three
children, all with special needs. She testified that the
eldest, who was thirteen at the time, was not responsible
enough to care for the other two.
explained that her employer's policy required her to find
a fellow employee to cover her shift, if she could not come
in. She tried calling everyone on her contact list, but no
one was available.
testified that she spoke to her supervisor, who threatened
she might be fired if she did not come in. Cottman testified,
"I was like I might just (inaudible) and [the
supervisor] was like well we [sic] just getting off
probation. It's either you can come in or you might be
fired. I wouldn't play with your time." Avoiding
termination, Cottman chose to resign. The employer's
representative did not dispute Cottman's version of the
conversation. Indeed, she did not address it at all.
thereafter applied for unemployment benefits. The deputy
denied her application, finding she was disqualified because
she left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to
her work. The Tribunal affirmed on the same ground, citing
N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a), as well as N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.1(e)(2),
which expressly provides that voluntarily leaving work for
the purpose of caring for children is not good cause. The
Board affirmed the Tribunal's decision without additional
appeal, Cottman contends she was forced to quit her job,
because she could not leave her children unattended during
her August 24 shift, and her supervisor told her she might be
fired if she did not come in.
deferentially review the Board's decision, but shall
reverse if it is arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable, or
lacks the support of sufficient credible evidence. Brady
v. Bd. of Review,152 N.J. 197, 210 (1997). With few
exceptions, leaving work for personal reasons unrelated to
the work, no matter how reasonable, disqualifies an employee
from receiving unemployment benefits. See N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a)
(disqualifying an individual who "has left work
voluntarily without good cause attributable to such
work");Utley v. Bd. of Review, 194 N.J.
534, 544 (2008) (stating that if an individual leaves
"for personal ...