Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Mark A. Rinehart, No. B-137916.
James E. Tarman, with him Roderick D. Gere, for appellant.
William J. Kennedy, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Rogers and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.
This is an appeal by Mark A. Rinehart (Claimant) from the decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review which affirmed the referee's denial of benefits under Section 402(b)(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(b)(1), on the grounds that Claimant had
voluntarily terminated his employment without cause of a necessitous and compelling reason. We affirm.*fn1
Claimant had been employed as a recreational director from February to July, 1975, by St. Mary's Home for Children in Ambler, Pennsylvania (St. Mary's), where he lived in his own separate apartment on its grounds. In July, at his employer's urging, Claimant accepted the position of live-in child care worker which, in addition to his daytime duties, required him to be on call every night. When he accepted the new position, St. Mary's agreed to give him "adequate relief time," although it did not specify the nature and extent of that relief. St. Mary's initially allowed Claimant five hours of weekly relief time, from 5 o'clock P.M. to 10 o'clock P.M. on Thursdays, and when Claimant complained that this was insufficient, he was granted an additional five hours the Wednesday evening of every other week. Claimant testified that, as a live-in child care worker, he was charged with round-the-clock supervision of six adolescent boys, four of whom were on medication for behavioral problems. He further stated that often he had to rise twice nightly to deal with problems such as bed-wetting by students and that on some nights he got no sleep at all. He complained several times that the physical and mental stress of these arduous duties, from which he received an average of only 7 1/2 hours of relief time per week, was having a harmful effect on his health, as evidenced by an increase in his cigarette use and coffee consumption, a decrease in appetite, bags under his eyes, and a growing inability to comprehend and retain even the simplest conversations.
He stated that he discussed the problem with two staff psychiatrists who agreed that he was not receiving adequate relief time. Despite his repeated complaints, St. Mary's refused to increase Claimant's relief time or hire another employee, so Claimant resigned.
Claimant contends that the physical and mental stress occasioned by his employer's refusal to grant him adequate relief time constituted compelling and necessitous reason for terminating his employment. We do not agree. In voluntary termination cases, the burden is upon the employee to prove that he had necessitous and compelling reason for leaving his employment. Aluminum Company of America v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 15 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 78, 324 A.2d 854 (1974). Further, when an employee accepts a position which he later quits, he admits the initial suitability of the position with respect to wages and conditions; and to demonstrate his entitlement to benefits, he must overcome that admission by showing a change in his job conditions or a deception by the employer making him unaware, when he entered the employment relationship, of conditions which he later alleges to be onerous. Mosley v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 15 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 447, 327 A.2d 199 (1974). Claimant has failed to meet this initial burden.
Claimant's testimony indicates that when he commenced working for St. Mary's as a recreational counselor, he immediately began training for the position of live-in child care worker. He was offered the position in early June, accepted it in July, and began working in August. From this, it is clear to us that Claimant commenced his duties as a live-in child care ...