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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MARGARET JANE LOWELL (04/09/76)

decided: April 9, 1976.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
MARGARET JANE LOWELL, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Margaret Jane Lowell, No. B-126836.

COUNSEL

Edward Van Stevenson, Jr., for appellant.

Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 311]

This is an appeal from a decision and order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) denying benefits to Margaret Jane Lowell, pursuant to Section 402(a) of the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn1 (Act), 43 P.S. ยง 802(a), which renders a claimant ineligible for refusing an offer of suitable work without good cause. After reviewing the evidence taken by the referee, the Board found that the claimant had been employed as a banquet waitress by the Sheraton Motor Inn at the time of her discharge on February 13, 1975. As a banquet waitress she had received $1.05 an hour plus tips which were evidently guaranteed at a rate of 12 per cent. On March 5, 1975, this same employer offered to rehire the claimant primarily as a dining room waitress but with some banquet work. As a dining room waitress, she would still receive $1.05 per hour plus tips but there would be no percentage guarantee as to the amount of tips, and, unlike the arrangements for banquet work, she would be compelled to work scheduled shifts, either breakfast, lunch or dinner. For various reasons, the claimant preferred to work only as a banquet waitress and she refused the offer of employment. The Board concluded that she lacked good cause for refusing an offer of suitable work and declared her to be ineligible for benefits under Section 402(a) of the Act for the period following the March 5, 1975 offer. It remanded the action to a referee, however, for a determination as to whether or not the claimant was eligible for benefits from the date of her discharge on February 13, 1975 to March 5, 1975. This appeal followed.

In unemployment compensation appeals, our scope of review is confined to questions of law and to a determination of whether or not the findings of the compensation

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 312]

    authorities are supported by substantial evidence. Sturniolo v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 19 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 475, 338 A.2d 794 (1975). Questions concerning the credibility of the witness and the weight to be accorded the evidence are, of course, left to the Board and we must, therefore, give the party prevailing below the benefit of all reasonable and logical inferences. Rice v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 19 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 592, 338 A.2d 792 (1975).

Our review of the record reveals more than adequate evidence to support the factual findings of the Board. The claimant argues first that the Board could not properly determine whether or not she had good cause to refuse the employer's offer to re-employ her without first determining the reason for her discharge, an issue to which the Board directed its remand order and which will be determined on the remand. We do not believe that the Board erred in this respect, for the record fails to demonstrate that the claimant at any time was denied an attempt to show that the circumstances surrounding her discharge constituted the cause for her refusal to accept the proffered work. Indeed this does not appear in any way to have been the reason for refusing the offer. What does appear is that she refused to work because she preferred banquet work as opposed to dining room work.

The claimant also argues, of course, that she had good cause for refusing the offer of reemployment because the work offered was not suitable. Section 402(a) of the Act reads as follows:

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

(a) In which his unemployment is due to failure, without good cause, either to apply for suitable work at such time and in such manner as the department may prescribe, or to accept suitable work ...


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