Utley v. Board of Review, Dept. of Labor, 2008 WL 204936 (N.J. May 15, 2008) – In a rare unemployment benefits case to reach the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Court held that an employee who resigned due to lack of transportation was entitled to unemployment benefits where the transportation problems were caused by the employer’s work schedule changes.
Utley, who relied upon public transportation to travel to and from work, was unable to get to work when his employer reassigned him to a different shift after 13 years. He started to carpool with a co-worker, but the company then mandated that he work overtime, which did not correspond with his co-worker’s schedule. Having no way to get to work, Utley resigned and sought unemployment benefits.
The Supreme Court held that the company set in motion the chain of events when it changed Utley’s shift and altered his working conditions, which led to his inability to work. Thus, the Court determined that Utley resigned “for good cause attributable to the work” and was entitled to unemployment benefits.
Note: This article was published in the June 2008 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.