Tuesday, June 17, 2014
06/05/14 VALENT VS. BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND HACKETTSTOWN COMMUNITY HOSPITAL A-4980-11T2
06/05/14 VALENT VS. BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF
LABOR AND HACKETTSTOWN COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
The Board of Review denied appellant's application for unemployment compensation benefits finding she engaged in simple "misconduct connected to work" under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(b). We reverse because the employer did not prove appellant committed misconduct by refusing to submit to a flu vaccination directive that exempted employees who objected based on documented medical or religious reasons. Appellant declined to be vaccinated for secular reasons of personal choice.
The Board's decision to rely on appellant's termination as a legal basis for denying her application for unemployment benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(b) unconstitutionally violated appellant's freedom of expression by improperly endorsing the employer's religion- based exemption to the flu vaccination policy and rejecting the secular choice proffered by appellant.