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SMITH UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. (11/14/58)

November 14, 1958

SMITH UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE.


Appeal, No. 167, Oct. T., 1958, by claimant, from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B-43850-A, in re claim of Lois Rainbow Smith. Decision affirmed.

COUNSEL

Bernard N. Katz, with him Joseph B. Meranze, and Meranze and Katz, for claimant, appellant.

Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Thomas D. McBride, Attorney General, for Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, appellee.

Samuel A. Schreckengaust, Jr., with him McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for employer, intervening appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (wright, J., absent).

Author: Rhodes

[ 187 Pa. Super. Page 562]

OPINION BY RHODES, P.J.

This is an appeal by claimant from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review denying her benefits on the ground that she was disqualified under section 402 (b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, 43 PS ยง 802 (b).

Claimant was last employed on a belt line operation by the Hershey Chocolate Corporation, Hershey, Pennsylvania. On February 8, 1956, the employment relationship was terminated because of a company policy which forbids female employes from continuing at work beyond the fifth month of pregnancy. It was the conclusion of the board that this company policy had been accepted as a condition of employment, and that the separation in accordance therewith was voluntary on the part of claimant whereby she was disqualified to receive benefits. Rzepski Unemployment Compensation Case, 182 Pa. Superior Ct. 16, 19, 124 A.2d 651.

The initial argument on behalf of claimant is that the company policy concerning pregnancy was not a condition of employment because, as alleged, there was no agreement between claimant and the company on this subject. The decision of the board, however, indicates otherwise. The board found that claimant was originally hired in July, 1951, and that she was informed of the company policy at that time. She had been laid off and reinstated at various times prior to her last period of employment from July 18, 1955, until her separation on February 8, 1956. At the time of her employment in 1951, claimant signed a statement which acknowledged receipt of a copy of an "Employees Manual," and which further stated: "It has been explained to me that the policies, rules and regulations as set forth by the Company vitally concern my employment at Hershey Chocolate Corporation. I agree

[ 187 Pa. Super. Page 563]

    to abide by these rules and regulations and subsequent changes contained therein and am subject to penalties for violations." The manual which claimant received provided: "Pregnancy is not a basis for leave. a. It is up to any person concerned to contact the nurse in the First Aid Room for advice about staying on the job." Subsequent to May 1, 1954, the company distributed a revised manual to all employes, which contained the following: "Pregnancy is not a basis for leave. a. It's up to the person concerned to contact the Medical Department about staying on the job. b. However, for women's protection, they can't continue to work beyond the 5th month of pregnancy."

The collective bargaining agreement between the union and the company in effect at all times during the course of claimant's employment made reference to the "Employees Manual" as follows: "An Employees Manual which shall set forth such matters as safety and plant rules, a brief outline of the Group Insurance and Annuity Plans, ...


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