Commission Reverses Precedent on Health Benefit Change Cases

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

Camden Cty. and Camden Cty. Prosecutor and Camden Cty. Assistant Prosecutors Ass’n

In P.E.R.C. No. 2012-42, the Commission reversed decades of precedent without acknowledging that it was doing so.  Relying on State of New Jersey (Dept. of Human Services), P.E.R.C. No. 84-148, 10 NJPER 419 (¶15191 1984), the Commission dismissed an unfair practice charge challenging a change in dental plans stating that under Human Services, such disputes must be resolved through the grievance procedure.  However, the Commission had in the past excluded health benefit cases from application of the Human Services doctrine.  See City of South Amboy, P.E.R.C. No. 85-15, 10 NJPER 511 (¶15234 1984).  The Commission did not mention that it was reversing this precedent.  This case suggests that the Commission may no longer protect against health benefit changes through the interim relief process.


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