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ROBERT J. OWEN v. UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/15/76)

decided: September 15, 1976.

ROBERT J. OWEN, APPELLANT
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Robert J. Owen, No. B-128107.

COUNSEL

Frank J. Piatek, for appellant.

Sandra S. Christianson, Assistant Attorney General, with her Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 26 Pa. Commw. Page 279]

This is an appeal by Robert J. Owen (claimant) from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), dated October 8, 1975, affirming a referee's decision, dated May 5, 1975, which had held the claimant ineligible for unemployment benefits. Denial of benefits was based on Section 402(b)(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act),*fn1 43 P.S. ยง 802(b)(1), which provides, inter alia, that:

"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. . . ."

The claimant here had been employed by Allied Security (employer) as a security guard from sometime

[ 26 Pa. Commw. Page 280]

    in February of 1974 to March 1, 1975, at an hourly wage of $2.10. His weekly employment schedule was flexible and he was constantly assigned overtime, often working 60 or more hours per week. In early February of 1975, he became ill and missed several days of work. Thereafter, he received less than forty (40) hours per week, and, for the week of February 23 to March 1, 1975, he was not assigned any work at all. On March 7, the claimant quit his job and sometime later moved from Pittsburgh to New Castle to reside with his mother.

On March 30, the claimant filed for unemployment benefits at the New Castle office of the Bureau of Employment Security (Bureau), which were denied. At the referee's hearing on the claimant's appeal, he maintained that his diminished income occasioned by the reduction of hours worked made it financially impossible for him to continue living in Pittsburgh and thus compelled him to quit his job there and return to his home. He further testified that he had desired to maintain his employment relationship but that his efforts to contact his employer to ascertain a future work schedule had been unsuccessful. This testimony was corroborated by a witness called by the claimant. It was noted, however, that the claimant's own telephone had been disconnected during the week of February 23-March 1, 1975.

None of the claimant's testimony was rebutted by the employer, who failed to send a representative to the hearing. However, a letter from the employer to the Bureau was admitted into evidence without objection. In this letter, the employer related that he had unsuccessfully attempted to contact the claimant on March 2, 3, and 4, ...


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