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CORRINE D. BLISS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/01/79)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: November 1, 1979.

CORRINE D. BLISS, 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 Corrine D. Bliss, Nos. B-159324, B-159325 and B-159326.

COUNSEL

Antonio D. Pyle, for appellant.

Michael D. Klein, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Assistant Attorney General, Chief Counsel, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 129]

The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review affirmed a referee's denial of benefits to Corrine

[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 130]

D. Bliss under Section 402(i) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1 We affirm.

The single issue before us to resolve is whether in this factual posture Bliss had a contract to teach the fall and winter terms of 1977-78.

Bliss was a part-time instructor at the University of Pittsburgh and was granted unemployment compensation benefits in April, 1977, following her last teaching day of the semester.

[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 131]

This Court has, in interpreting "contract", stated that it need not be a formal written agreement but can consist of an implied agreement or mutual commitment. Scholtz v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 42 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 277, 400 A.2d 700 (1979). We have in the past upheld the Board's finding of an implied contract where the teacher had a reasonable expectation to return to work if available. Hyduchak v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 35 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 575, 387 A.2d 669 (1978). We have distinguished mere hopes of returning to teach. Cawley v. Unemployment Compensation Page 131} Board of Review, 36 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 405, 387 A.2d 1023 (1978).

The University offered Bliss a teaching assignment for the fall and winter terms of 1977-78. This offer was made in April, 1977, and on August 15, 1977, the actual assignment was made contingent upon sufficient student enrollment. Prior to this development, she had worked on a similar arrangement in the preceding school year. Bliss always intended to return to work if it was available. At no time since the end of the April, 1977 term did her employer indicate that work would not be available. In this factual matrix, we are satisfied that Bliss had a reasonable expectation of returning to work as distinguished from a mere hope and Hyduchak, supra, controls and benefits must be denied.*fn2

Accordingly, we

Order

And Now, this 1st day of November, 1979, the orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review at Decision Nos. B-159324, B-159325 and B-159326 affirming the referee are affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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