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DONALD WOLFORD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/19/78)

decided: April 19, 1978.

DONALD WOLFORD, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Donald Wolford, No. B-132423.

COUNSEL

John S. Alexander, with him Alan N. Linder, for appellant.

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

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 44]

Donald Wolford (Claimant), a resident of Reading, Pennsylvania, has appealed the decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming the referee's denial of benefits under Section 402(a) of the Unemployment Compensation Law,*fn1

[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 45]

    which denies a claimant benefits if, without good cause, he refuses an offer of suitable employment.

The facts are not in dispute. Claimant is married and has two children who, at the time he refused the job offer, were aged four years and 16 months. At all times relevant to the litigation, Claimant's wife worked regularly from 6:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Claimant had been working the 12:00 midnight to 8:00 A.M. shift as a stock clerk until March 26, 1975, when he was laid off and at which time his unemployment compensation benefits commenced. He registered with the Bureau of Employment Security (Bureau) which, in later October, 1975, referred him for a job interview at Oritsky's as a stock clerk, his work hours being 7:00 A.M. to 3:40 P.M.*fn2 Claimant attended the interview and completed an application, on which he stated that, because they had no babysitter, he watched his children during the day. Oritsky's called Claimant at 7:00 A.M. on November 4, 1975, and told him to report for work at 7:00 A.M. the following morning. Claimant agreed to report for work, but he failed to appear because, as he later told the referee, "I talked to my wife, I had hopes that we could possibly work something out and she said, my wife said to me the only way that it would be possible that you could go is if I stay home."

The Bureau, the referee, and the Board all determined that, inasmuch as Claimant's failure to accept the offered position was due to the need to care for his children, the failure to accept was not for good cause, and that Claimant was therefore ineligible for benefits.

[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 46]

Subsequent to the Board's decision in this case, we decided Trexler v. Unemployment Compensation Page 46} Board of Review, 27 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 180, 365 A.2d 1341 (1976). There, a claimant refused an offer of suitable employment because the job would have occasionally required her to work overtime, and she had unsuccessfully attempted to make alternate child care arrangements for her 12-month old child for the extra hours, though she had a babysitter for the regular work hours. We reversed the compensation authorities' ruling that her refusal was not for good cause and awarded benefits. In so doing, we overruled prior case law which apparently has been relied on by the Board in the instant case,*fn3 and which had held that domestic responsibilities can never be considered good cause for refusing an offer of suitable employment. In the course of our opinion, we stated:

'[G]ood cause' may cover reasons which are extraneous to the employment and strictly personal to the claimant, provided, however, that such personal reasons involve real and substantial circumstances which compel the decision to refuse suitable work and rest on 'good faith.' Lattanzio, supra [Lattanzio v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 461 Pa. 392, 336 A.2d 595 (1975)]; Quiggle Unemployment Compensation Case, 172 Pa. Superior Ct. 430, 94 A.2d 367 (1953). . . . '[G]ood faith, as used in this context, includes positive conduct on the part ...


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