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DOROTHY E. MCDONALD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/14/79)

decided: December 14, 1979.

DOROTHY E. MCDONALD, 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 Dorothy E. McDonald, No. B-162518.

COUNSEL

Michelle R. Terry, with her Nathaniel C. Nichols, for appellant.

Elsa D. Newman, Assistant Attorney General, with her Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for appellee.

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

Author: Wilkinson

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 17]

Petitioner (claimant) appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) denying her unemployment compensation benefits after concluding that she voluntarily quit her employment without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature as required by Section 402(b)(1) of the

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 18]

Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 802(b)(1). We reverse.

Findings of fact of the Board are binding upon this Court when supported by substantial evidence. Martin v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 36 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 304, 387 A.2d 998 (1978). The Board found that the claimant had left her employment as the secretary in a shop office of Walton Products, Inc., because she felt that the pressure and tension involved were adversely affecting her health and because her doctor had advised her to quit. However, the Board also found that the claimant did not ask for other work before leaving. Because the claimant had not shown that she had asked for lighter work or that such a request would have been futile, the Board concluded that benefits must be denied under Section 402(b)(1) of the Law.

The claimant had been working for the same employer for seven years but allegedly had been suffering from deteriorating health in the past two years, primarily nervous problems. She had asked her employer for help several times, explaining that the increasing workload was making her nervous. She had also visited her doctor, who had indicated to her that if working conditions did not improve she should find other employment.

The Board concluded that the claimant had quit her employment for medically certified health reasons. Their basis for denial of benefits rested on the lack of testimony indicating a request for a leave of absence or lighter work. Because we find competent evidence that a request for a leave would have been futile and requests for lighter work were made in the requests for help with the workload, we must conclude that the decision of the Board was not based on substantial evidence.

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 19]

The requirements for a claimant seeking benefits after leaving employment for health reasons are set out in Baldassano v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 34 Pa. ...


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