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Livingston v. Board of Review, Department of Labor

A-2397-03T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2004) (Unpublished)

UNEMPLOYMENT—Even though imposition of a rotating shift change schedule may cause stress in an employee, that does not constitute a basis in law for an employee’s quitting to be “with good cause.”

An employee resigned from her job because, according to her, it became “unbearable and very stressful.” After working at the company for a couple of years, she had been “placed on a twice-per-year rotating shift, in which her schedule would change about every six months.” After a couple of shift changes, she left work even though there was no medical proof of her inability to work and even though it did not appear that she was under a doctor’s care at the time. The Board of Review held that she had left employment “voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work.” The Appellate Division agreed. It was sympathetic that “the shifting of [the woman’s] working hours, the challenges of her commute by bus, and her perception that her bathroom time at work was unduly constrained might have increased the stress related to her employment,” but, according to the Court, “those circumstances [did] not provide a basis in law” for the Court to disturb the Board’s decision. It deferred to the agency’s determination, pointing out that courts “generally do not reverse [an] agency’s decision unless it is ‘arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable or is not supported by substantial credible evidence in the record as a whole.’”

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