Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in case of Novella Nichols v. Wilkinsburg Borough School District and Charles W. Krepps, Jr., Superintendent, No. E-4154.
Henry G. Beamer, III, with him J. Donald Cook and Metz, Cook, Hanna & Kelly, for appellants.
Mark A. Senick, Assistant Counsel, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, with him J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers. Judge Blatt did not participate. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.
This appeal is from an adjudication of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission which concluded that appellants, the Wilkinsburg Borough School District and its superintendent, had unlawfully discriminated against one of its teachers in violation of Section 5(a) of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act*fn1 in subjecting said teacher to unfair and unequal terms and conditions of employment on account of her race and to an unlawfully discriminatory method of evaluation. The Commission's action resulted from a complaint filed by Novella J. Nichols, a temporary professional employee of the district employed in the fall of 1969 and whose employment by the district was terminated in May 1971.
After hearing, the Commission issued its adjudication in which it made seventeen findings of fact and five conclusions of law. Appellants contend that a number of the findings of fact and conclusions of law are without any support in the record or are not supported
by substantial evidence. They also argue that the Commission acted arbitrarily and with bias contrary to minimum due process requirements for administrative agencies having quasi judicial powers, and finally that the Commission erred in not giving any weight to certain provisions of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, 24 P.S. § 1-101 et seq., concerning approval of curricular and teaching materials as relevant to the activity of Mrs. Nichols which triggered the events leading to her reassignment and subsequent unsatisfactory performance rating.
As this appeal comes before us under the provisions of the Administrative Agency Law*fn2 pursuant to Section 10 of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, our review is to determine whether the adjudication "is in accordance with law" or whether "any finding of fact made by the agency and necessary to support its adjudication is not supported by substantial evidence." As stated in Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission v. Chester School District, 209 Pa. Superior Ct. 37, 224 A.2d 811 (1966), our scope of review is a limited one and the agency will be sustained unless its adjudication was based on facts or conclusions not supported by evidence or unless it has committed clear abuse of discretion, exceeded its power or based its conclusions upon erroneous interpretation of the law.
Consistent with the scope of our review we have carefully considered the record made before the Commission in relation to its findings of fact and conclusions of law.
As several of its crucial findings of fact are either refuted by the record or without any support in the record and others constitute conclusions of law, not fact, upon ...