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DOROTHY B. HOY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/12/78)

decided: October 12, 1978.

DOROTHY B. HOY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT. CHRISTINE P. BEYER, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in cases of In Re: Claim of Dorothy B. Hoy, No. B-134808 and In Re: Claim of Christine P. Beyer, No. B-134983.

COUNSEL

George S. Test, for appellants.

Susan Shinkman, Assistant Attorney General, with her 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 Crumlish, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Crumlish

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 127]

A decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) denying unemployment compensation benefits to Dorothy B. Hoy and Christine P. Beyer (Claimants) is the subject of this appeal.

Claimants were employees at the Sheetz Kwik Shopper in the Borough of Tyrone, Blair County,

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 128]

Pennsylvania, an area not used to the frequent perversion of tranquility currently occurring in urban communities. Claimant Hoy was the store manager and Claimant Beyer was a clerk. During the winter months of 1976, two murder/robberies were committed in Blair County at retail stores similar to the Sheetz Kwik Shopper, and on the evening of March 16, 1976, Claimant Hoy was advised by a Borough policeman that the suspected murderer was believed to be in the area. Hoy contacted her immediate supervisor to advise him of the police report and discuss the possibility of closing the store early. She was told only to use her discretion in closing, and thereafter decided to close at 10 o'clock P.M., two hours earlier than the normal closing time. Upon reaching home, she was contacted by Steven Sheetz (Owner), the store owner who told her that under no circumstances was she permitted to close the store early without his permission. He said that if she feared that her health and safety were in jeopardy, she was to contact him, lock the doors and await the arrival of an armed guard. Hoy considered these instructions to be unreasonable, and shortly after her conversation with Owner, she contacted her supervisor to inform him of her decision to quit. Hoy then spoke to Claimant Beyer, told her of the conversation with Owner and apprised her of her decision. The next day Beyer advised Owner that she too was quitting, asserting that the protection he promised was not adequate to assure her safety. During the following week, two additional employees quit because of this incident, thus leaving only two of six employees remaining.

Sometime after making their decisions, Claimants learned that Owner had contacted the Borough police and forbade them from informing his employees of the whereabouts of suspected criminals. Rather, the police were instructed to contact Owner and he, in

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 129]

    turn, would decide whether to send a guard to the store.

Claimants' applications for unemployment compensation benefits were denied because the Board found that Claimants did not sustain their burden of proving that they terminated their employment for necessitous and compelling reasons under Section 402 of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., ...


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