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SEARS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/12/78)

decided: December 12, 1978.

SEARS, ROEBUCK & COMPANY, 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 Mary Mulholland, No. B-136824-D.

COUNSEL

Harvey Freedenberg, with him David E. Lehman, and McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for petitioner.

Reese F. Couch, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 171]

Sears, Roebuck & Company (Sears) has appealed from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) that Mary B. Mulholland (claimant) did not voluntarily terminate her employment and was therefore eligible for benefits pursuant to the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 751 et seq. We reverse.

The relevant facts, although somewhat complex, are for the most part undisputed. Claimant was employed by Sears as a record clerk. On March 22, 1976, claimant returned from a one-week vacation and discovered that her workload had drastically increased in her absence. Disturbed, claimant immediately consulted with her supervisor, Mr. Casey, who promised to investigate. Upon returning to her desk, claimant became involved in an argument with a co-worker who was upset about claimant's discussion with Mr. Casey. This argument upset claimant so much that she sought and received permission to leave work early. The next day claimant reported off sick.

When claimant returned to work on March 24, 1976, she again met with Mr. Casey and attempted, unsucessfully, to resolve the matter of her heavy workload. Mr. Casey asked claimant if she wished to resign, but claimant said she wished to see the head of the personnel department, Mr. Mischke, about a transfer to another department. Claimant met with Mr. Mischke

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 172]

    the next day. She described her conversation with him as follows:

So, I explained everything to him and told him exactly all the things that I felt and thought, myself because I didn't want to leave Sears. I had worked there a good amount of years and I knew that I only had 9 more years before retirement age. So, anyhow, I told him all this and so then he said to me, naturally, if I can't find any other work for you, other than to go back to 150 and work for Mr. Casey, will you go back and I said I couldn't. Under the circumstances I couldn't do it. I said physically, or mentally, I just couldn't do it. I said, I guess the only alternative I would have was to resign and to me, I never dreamed that there wouldn't be a job in Sears because I have done almost everything there is, as I can remember. So, then anyhow, I left under that, you know, and he said I'll get back to you. . . . (Emphasis added.)

After leaving Mischke's office, claimant did not return to her desk to await word on her request for a transfer; rather, she went home and never again reported for work.

By letter dated March 31, 1975, Mr. Mischke informed claimant that he had been unable to find another position for her, and he expressed his regret at her decision to leave the company. On April 7, claimant went to see him and reiterated her request for a transfer. She was informed there were "no jobs" available. Claimant did not ask whether her ...


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