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A woman who fled her job to escape what she characterized as sexual harassment is not entitled to unemployment benefits because she left on her own volition, an appellate panel in Albany has found. Last week’s decision in Gully v. Commissioner of Labor apparently means that Frances T. Gully will have to refund more than $2,000 in benefits she received after leaving her job. Records show that Gully repeatedly complained that someone was intentionally leaving pubic hair on or near the toilet seat in the bathroom near her work space. The employer discussed the issue with co-workers, directed the cleaning staff to be particularly diligent and asked two co-workers to check the rest room before Gully arrived at work. However, after Gully apparently instigated a public outburst over the issue, the employer gave her written notice that her behavior was inappropriate and that another incident could result in her termination. Gully, alleging sexual harassment, stopped going to work and filed for unemployment benefits, claiming that she had been fired. Her place of employment was not named in the decision. After Gully had received more than $2,000, the Department of Labor declared her ineligible for benefits. The case before the Appellate Division, 3rd Department was an appeal from a determination of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board and its finding that Gully voluntarily resigned. In its decision, the 3rd Department unanimously agreed with the state. “In our view, claimant’s suspicions were founded more upon personal animus between her and a coworker than upon any tangible evidence,” the court said in a decision by Justice D. Bruce Crew III. “Personality conflicts with one’s coworkers do not constitute good cause for resignation.” The panel, which also included justices Edward O. Spain, Carl J. Mugglin, Robert S. Rose and Anthony T. Kane, rejected Gully’s argument that she had been constructively terminated. Gully appeared pro se. The commissioner of labor was represented by Assistant Attorney General Steven Segall. In other recent decisions, the 3rd Department: � Refused to permit an insurer to re-open the record to challenge a workers’ compensation award to a woman injured in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. White v. Fuji Bank. The World Trade Center matter stemmed from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Yaeno E. White, who worked in the World Trade Center, was injured and applied for workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits were awarded. Ten months later, the carrier, Sompo Japan Insurance Co. of America, stopped paying benefits. It argued that White had not suffered a work-related injury because she was not in the building when it was struck by a hijacked plane. She was near the basement door and elevator in the subway station. Justice Crew, writing for the court, agreed with an administrative law judge. He said that White’s whereabouts at the time of the attack were known prior to the award of benefits. “The carrier not only failed to appeal from that decision but waited 10 months before requesting that the record be reopened,” Crew wrote. “Under the circumstances, we perceive no abuse of discretion in the board’s refusal to allow further fact finding.” Also on the panel were Presiding Justice Cardona and justices Peters, Mugglin and Rose. Assistant Attorney General Iris A. Steel appeared for the Workers’ Compensation Board. Richard Imbrogno, of counsel to Jones, Hirsch, Connors & Bull in Manhattan, represented the carrier.

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