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JOSEPH R. CATERINA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/23/79)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: May 23, 1979.

JOSEPH R. CATERINA, 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 Joseph R. Caterina. No. B-140890-B.

COUNSEL

Joseph R. Caterina, petitioner, for himself.

Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 20]

Joseph R. Caterina here appeals a determination by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (UCBR) which denied him benefits under Section 402(b)(1) of the Act.*fn1

At issue is whether his reason for refusing an offer of continuing employment rises to the level of a cause of a compelling and necessitous nature which in our law would render him eligible for compensation.

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 21]

We affirm UCBR.

Caterina had been employed approximately two and one-half years by the United States Army Corps of Engineers when he received notification that, due to a substantial decrease in work load, his job was being abolished effective July 23, 1976. In lieu of separation, he accepted a position with the Corps' River Basin Planning Section. However, on June 15, 1976, the Corps advised him that a revision of its plan for a reduction in force necessitated his being offered another civil engineering position with the Coastal and Special Studies section in lieu of the prior offer. Caterina refused the assignment, thus effectively terminating his employment on July 23, 1976.

On appeal, Caterina contends that he was bound by conscience and by law to decline the second offer because he lacked training and expertise in that particular area of engineering. He refers to his code of ethics as a professional registered engineer, which provides in pertinent part:

It shall be considered unprofessional and inconsistent with honorable and dignified bearing for any professional engineer or surveyor:

(8) To attempt to practice in any field of engineering in which the registrant is not proficient.*fn2

Our scope of review is limited to consideration of legal questions and evidentiary support for UCBR's findings of fact. Hyduchak v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 35 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 575, 387 A.2d 669 (1978). Questions of credibility and evidentiary weight are properly left to UCBR which is free to reject even uncontradicted testimony.

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 22]

    choosing to rely instead on repeated unsupported assertions that he lacked training and experience and that he was unable to "relate" to the second offer.

We must conclude that Caterina has not met his burden of proving a necessitous and compelling cause for his voluntary termination. See Taylor v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 474 Pa. 351, 378 A.2d 829 (1977).

Accordingly, we

Order

And Now, this 23rd day of May, 1979, the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the above captioned case dated September 26, 1977, denying unemployment compensation to Joseph R. Caterina is hereby affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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