Brown v. Bd. of Review, DOCKET NO. A-3863-15T4

CourtNew Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Docket NumberDOCKET NO. A-3863-15T4
Decision Date13 June 2018

KENDRA D. BROWN, Appellant,

DOCKET NO. A-3863-15T4


Submitted January 16, 2018
June 13, 2018


This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court." Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3.

Before Judges Ostrer and Whipple.

On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 072,656.

Kendra D. Brown, appellant pro se.

Gurbir S. Grewal, Attorney General, attorney for respondent Board of Review (Melissa Dutton Schaffer, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Adam K. Phelps, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Respondent AlliedBarton Security Services has not filed a brief.


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Claimant Kendra D. Brown appeals from the March 24, 2016 decision of the Board of Review (Board) disqualifying her from receiving unemployment benefits under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) because she left her job voluntarily and without good cause attributable to work. We affirm.

Claimant was employed by AlliedBarton Security Services (AlliedBarton) as a security officer from September 2012 through September 2015, when she left her employment. AlliedBarton contracts to provide security for companies nationwide, including in New Jersey. Claimant was specifically hired to work at Fidessa, a site in Somerset, New Jersey; she worked an overnight shift from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

In June 2015, claimant requested a transfer to a different job site at Horizon, in Ewing, New Jersey, where she believed she could receive full-time employment at a higher pay rate. The handbook detailing the policies and procedures followed by AlliedBarton, which was given to claimant when she was hired, provided that the company would make all efforts to accommodate transfer requests, but they were not guaranteed.

On July 1, 2015, claimant met with AlliedBarton's Regional Director of Human Resources, Jeanette Whitman-Lee, who told claimant because she was hired for a particular position at a particular site, her current position at Fidessa would first have

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to be filled. After that position was filled, she would be placed in the "reassignment pool" and would be considered for any open positions. In the meantime, she was not prohibited from applying to and interviewing with the recruiters at any job sites where she wished to be transferred.

Later that week, claimant met with the field operations manager in charge of Fidessa, Salvatore Cifone. He informed claimant he was not approving any transfers until he filled all currently open positions because that would inconvenience Fidessa. Claimant became upset, informed him that she was recording their conversation, and asserted that he was blocking her transfer because of a personal issue with her. Cifone assured her that his reasons were solely business related. That same month, he put in a job requisition to begin the process of filling claimant's position at Fidessa so that she might transfer.

Thereafter, claimant spoke on the phone to the field operations manager for Horizon. However, she did not formally apply or request an interview for this job site.

At the end of July 2015, claimant filed civil rights complaints against AlliedBarton with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She alleged discrimination due to an underlying medical condition and retaliation, asserting other employees had been allowed to transfer to new job sites.

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On August 20, 2015, Cifone informally reprimanded claimant for trading shifts with another security officer without notifying him as required by AlliedBarton policies and procedures. Again, claimant became upset, arguing Cifone had a personal issue with her.

On or around August 24, 2015, AlliedBarton hired a new security guard to fill claimant's position. However, when the new guard arrived at work, claimant initially refused to train her, complained she had not been notified in advance, and did not believe the new guard had the authorization to be on Fidessa property. Cifone claimed he had tried to notify claimant in advance, but she did not answer the phone and did not have voicemail. It was only after an argument with Cifone that claimant agreed to train the new guard.

On August 26, 2015, claimant sent an email to Cifone requesting to see her employee file, which he forwarded to human resources. Human resources agreed to accommodate this request, but on August 28, claimant withdrew her request to see the file.

That same week, Cifone conducted a site inspection and noticed claimant was not in the correct uniform required by Fidessa. Her uniform shirt was too large, requiring her to wear layers under it, and she was wearing the wrong pants, shoes, and earrings.

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On August 31, 2015, Cifone emailed claimant telling her she was removed from Fidessa and instructed her not to report for her shift. He also informed her she should contact him so they could sit down and "discuss the events that transpired last week," but she never reached out.

On September 3, 2015, Whitman-Lee sent claimant a letter via email and regular mail, informing her she needed to speak with her about her performance issues before claimant would be able to return to work. Whitman-Lee asked that this meeting take place before September 11, 2015.

From that point on, claimant refused to schedule a meeting with AlliedBarton, despite repeated attempts to contact her. Claimant asserted...

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