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NATHANIEL FIRMSTONE v. UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/09/77)

decided: March 9, 1977.

NATHANIEL FIRMSTONE, APPELLANT
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Nathaniel Firmstone, No. B-124102.

COUNSEL

John M. Humphrey, for appellant.

Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 159]

This is an appeal by Nathaniel Firmstone (claimant) from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), dated April 13, 1976, affirming a referee's decision which had held the claimant ineligible for unemployment benefits. Denial of benefits was based on the application to this case of Section 402(b)(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn1 (Act) which, inter alia, provides:

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 as a painter by John F. Miles Company of Kulpmont, Pennsylvania, at a work site located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Board found as a fact that "[o]n September 19 and 20, 1974 the claimant failed to report for work because he had left the area due to a death in the family." Claimant did not notify his employer that he would not report for work on September 19 and 20, 1974. On the next work day after September 20, 1974, claimant reported for work and was notified to report the following day for a conference with his supervisor. The following day the claimant was advised by his supervisor that he had been replaced by another painter.

In unemployment compensation cases, our scope of review is limited to questions of law and, in the absence

[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 160]

    of fraud, to a determination of whether or not the findings of the Board are supported by the evidence, giving the party prevailing below the benefit of all reasonable and logical inferences. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Kessler, 27 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 1, 365 A.2d 459 (1976). We must decide in this case whether or not claimant voluntarily left work and is therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits because of the provisions of Section 402(b)(1) of the Act. This question is one of law. Haseleu v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 96, 316 A.2d 159 (1974).

In Morgan v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 174 Pa. Superior Ct. 59, 98 A.2d 405 (1953), a painter left work, without permission, to go hunting and was informed on his return three days later that he no longer had a job. The Superior Court, in finding that the painter did not voluntarily leave work, stated: "Unauthorized absenteeism . . . may constitute just cause for ...


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