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JOAN MARY MEANS v. UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW. (MEANS UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE.) (01/14/55)

January 14, 1955

JOAN MARY MEANS, APPELLANT,
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW. (MEANS UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE.)



Appeal, No. 258, April T., 1954, by claimant, from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, appeal No. B-5-B-242, decision No. B-37203, in re claim of Joan Mary Means. Decision affirmed.

COUNSEL

S. Harold Grossman, Tarentum, for appellant.

William L. Hammond, Special Deputy Attorney General, with him Frank F. Truscott, Attorney General, for appellee.

Joseph E. Madva, with him Kenneth G. Jackson and Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, for employer, intervenor, appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., Hirt, Ross, Gunther, Wright, Woodside and Ervin, JJ.

Author: Gunther

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 411]

OPINION BY GUNTHER, J.,

This is an appeal from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review denying compensation because of ineligibility under Section 402(b) of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law. The facts are undisputed. Claimant began to work for the Elliott Company in November 1951 and continued until May 5, 1954. Her last working day was April 20, on which date she received two weeks' vacation pay and began her vacation on April 21. She was married April 24, 1954. At the end of her vacation period she was refused permission to return to work although willing and able. The refusal was based upon a company-union agreement which forbids the employment of married women. Claimant was a member of the United Steel Workers of America.

The Bureau originally decided that she was eligible upon the theory that the unemployment was involuntary in that she was required to resign because of the policy. The company appealed the decision and the referee reversed the Bureau disallowing benefits upon the following basis: "Since claimant was a member of the unit represented by the duly constituted bargaining agent of all the employees of the company, she was bound by an agreement made with respect to conditions of employment. Inasmuch as she was prevented from continuing in her employment because of marriage by virtue of the agreement entered into between the employer and the union, it is apparent that her unemployment was consensual and voluntary. She is, therefore, disqualified for benefits under Section 402(b) of the Law on the theory of delegated volition."

The clause requiring female employes to resign upon marriage was put into the contract between the company and the union and became effective on May 27, 1947, and provides as follows: "It is agreed by the

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 412]

Company and the Union that insofar as it is practicable to do so in the employment of women, employment should be restricted to unmarried women... Any woman presently employed will be required to resign if she marries subsequent to May 27, 1947." The claimant contends that under ยง 701 of the Law, no agreement of an employe to waive, release or commute any compensation right under the Act shall be valid.

Can a claimant be considered voluntarily unemployed if the company-union agreement provides that women employes must resign after marriage? The testimony definitely establishes that the union entered into an agreement with the company, on claimant's behalf, which provided for women presently employed to resign if married subsequent to May 27, 1947. The agreement was negotiated on behalf of claimant and all other members of the United Steel Workers of America. The claimant voiced no objections to the agreement during the course of her employment. It was testified by a ...


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