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Thursday, May 12, 2016

MARGO S. ARDAN VS. BOARD OF REVIEW, LOURDES MEDICAL CENTER OF BURLINGRON COUNTY, INC. AND ALLIANCE HEALTHCARE A-5826-13T2

MARGO S. ARDAN VS. BOARD OF REVIEW, LOURDES MEDICAL 
CENTER OF BURLINGRON COUNTY, INC. AND ALLIANCE 
HEALTHCARE 
A-5826-13T2 
Appellant was employed as a registered nurse at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County for approximately two years. She obtained a "desk job" with another employer prior to resigning from Lourdes, and told Lourdes she was resigning "to seek other opportunity." She was laid off from the second job after seven weeks and applied for unemployment benefits. 
The Deputy Director found appellant was disqualified for benefits because she left work at Lourdes voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. For the first time on appeal to the Appeal Tribunal, appellant relied on N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.3(b) and claimed that she left Lourdes because of a medical condition that was aggravated by her working conditions and there was no other suitable work available. 
The Board ultimately determined that appellant was disqualified for benefits because she left work at Lourdes voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. The Board accepted the Appeal Tribunal's findings that appellant left Lourdes to accept other employment; never advised Lourdes she was leaving for medical reasons; and never requested or afforded Lourdes an opportunity to provide an accommodation. We held that the Board reasonably interpreted N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.3(b) to require an employee to notify an employer of a medical condition that was aggravated by the working conditions, request an accommodation, and afford the employer an opportunity to address the matter to determine whether there was other suitable work available. 
Nearly one and one-half years after the Board's decision, the Legislature amended N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) to provide an exception to individuals who voluntarily leave work with one 

employer to accept work from another employer. We held that the amendment should not be retroactively applied.