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11 N.J.A.R. 537

Human Services, State Department of; Harrington, Jean v
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Citation: 11 N.J.A.R. 537
Decision Date: 1989
Synopsis: Appellant, who was removed from her employment and later reinstated with back pay, filed an appeal with the Merit System Board on the issues of back pay and counsel fees. The matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. The administrative law judge who heard the matter denied appellant's claim for counsel fees. The rule in effect when appellant was reinstated did not permit the award of counsel fees when a public employee is awarded back wages in full without any mitigation. The rule on counsel fees was changed, but the judge concluded that the prior rule applied to this case. Since appellant's award of back wages had not been mitigated by earnings during the time that she was discharged, she was not entitled to counsel fees. The administrative law judge also denied appellant's claim that she should have accumulated 45 vacation days rather than 30 days. The vacation leave provision, N.J.S..4. 1 IA:6-2, permits unused vacation leave to accumulate only during the next succeeding year. Since appellant accrues 15 days per year, she may not accumulate more than 30 vacation days. Upon review, this initial decision was adopted by the Merit System Board. Janinc Bauer, Esq., for appellant (Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein, Watter & Blader, attorneys) Harold W. George, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent (W. Cary Edwards, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney)
Rule(s) Cited: 1:1-3.2(a) 4:1-5.5(c)