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JAMES T. PERDUE v. UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA. JAMES T. PERDUE (02/25/77)

decided: February 25, 1977.

JAMES T. PERDUE
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA. JAMES T. PERDUE, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of James T. Perdue, No. B-125285-C.

COUNSEL

William Taggart, 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., Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 642]

James T. Perdue (claimant) appeals from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which denied him unemployment benefits on the basis that he became unemployed through his own fault.

The claimant had been employed by the General State Authority as a construction inspector for approximately four years when he was indefinitely suspended on October 16, 1974 as a result of a charge brought against him by a retail store for attempted theft by deception. Although this charge was subsequently dropped, Perdue was later found guilty of the lesser offense of retail theft, and was fined $150 by a District Justice. He took no appeal from this conviction which was entered on November 6, 1974, and, at the request of his employer, he resigned from his position effective November 22, 1974.

The Bureau of Employment Security denied Perdue's petition for benefits after determining that his unemployment was due to "willful misconduct connected with his work," and that, as a result, benefits were prohibited by Section 402(e) of the Unemployment

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 643]

Compensation Law*fn1 (Law). A referee affirmed the denial, but concluded that the claimant was barred from benefits by Section 3 of the Law, 43 P.S. § 752, which provides that unemployment compensation is designed to benefit "persons unemployed through no fault of their own." On appeal to the Board, benefits were first denied under Section 3 as well as under Section 402(b)(1) of the Law, 43 P.S. § 802(b)(1), which provides that a claimant is ineligible for compensation if he voluntarily leaves work, but as a result of a rehearing, the Board issued a second order affirming the referee solely on the basis of the declaration of public policy found in Section 3. The claimant appeals to this Court contending that the Board erred as a matter of law because his conduct was "not serious enough" to warrant a denial of benefits.

Section 3 of the Law provides:

Economic insecurity due to unemployment is a serious menace to the health, morals, and welfare of the people of the Commonwealth. Involuntary unemployment and its resulting burden of indigency falls with crushing force upon the unemployed worker, and ultimately upon the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions in the form of poor relief assistance. Security against unemployment and the spread of indigency can best be provided by the systematic setting aside of financial reserves to be used as compensation for loss of wages by employes during periods when they become ...


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