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HUBERT KNOX v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/28/74)

decided: March 28, 1974.

HUBERT KNOX, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Hubert Knox, No. B-117745.

COUNSEL

Michael E. Christiansen, for appellant.

Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 12 Pa. Commw. Page 589]

This is an appeal filed by Hubert Knox (Knox) from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) dated June 29, 1973, in which the Board disallowed an appeal from its referee's adjudication denying unemployment compensation benefits to Knox.

Knox was employed by the Pittsburgh Office Furniture Company as a laborer for approximately one year until the last day of his employment on December 4, 1972. The record indicates that Knox believed that his work was causing him to become nervous and subject to hypertension. Knox testified that he did not request lighter duties or different work, and that he was not advised by his doctor to leave his work because of his condition. Knox stated for the record that he became nervous when his employer scolded him for mistakes made on the job. In any event, on his last day of employment Knox returned from lunch and voluntarily "quit," telling his employer that he could not "take it anymore."

The referee found that Knox voluntarily terminated his employment, and concluded that he was ineligible for compensation because he left his work without cause of necessitous and compelling nature. As we have said so many times, when an individual voluntarily terminates his work and then applies for unemployment compensation benefits, he assumes the burden of showing that his termination was with cause of a necessitous and compelling nature, e.g., see Tollari v. Commonwealth Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 10 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 589, 309 A.2d 833 (1973). However, it is true that illness of a claimant may constitute good cause for leaving employment within the

[ 12 Pa. Commw. Page 590]

    meaning of Section 402(b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 802(b). See Tollari, supra. Section 402(b)(1) reads in pertinent part as follows:

"An employe shall be ineligible for compensation for any week --

"(b)(1) In which his unemployment is due to voluntarily leaving work without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature, irrespective of whether or not such work is in 'employment' as defined in this act: . . . ." This record indicates that Knox quit his job primarily because he was dissatisfied with work conditions. Such a reason for quitting does not constitute the required necessitous and compelling reason which would permit the Board to grant unemployment compensation benefits. See White Unemployment Compensation Case, 202 Pa. Superior Ct. 185, 195 A.2d 823 (1963). We have carefully reviewed this very short record and conclude that there is sufficient substantial evidence to support the conclusion of the referee and the Board that Knox did not meet his burden of proving that his voluntary termination of his work was due to a cause of a necessitous and compelling nature.

Knox's principle contention in his appeal to this Court is that he was deprived of due process of law because he was unrepresented by counsel at the hearing before the referee and the referee failed to counsel him on how to prove his case. Knox contends that at the hearing he had in his possession ...


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