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MONTEFIORE HOSPITAL v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/03/80)

decided: April 3, 1980.

MONTEFIORE HOSPITAL, 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 Helen Serebrovich, No. B-154332-B.

COUNSEL

Vasilis C. Katsafanas, with him Lynn E. Wagner, of Berkman, Ruslander, Pohl, Lieber & Engel, for petitioner.

John T. Kupchinsky, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Blatt, MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. President Judge Bowman did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Williams

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 311]

This is an appeal by an employer, Montefiore Hospital, from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) to award unemployment benefits. The Board, affirming the Referee, determined that the claimant, Mrs. Helen Serebrovich, had "necessitous and compelling" cause for terminating her employment at the Montefiore Hospital, and therefore, was not ineligible for benefits under Section 402(b)(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law. The Board also determined that she was able

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 312]

    and available for suitable work, that is, work that did not require heavy lifting, and therefore, was entitled to benefits under Section 401(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1 The employer contends that these determinations of the Board are not supported by substantial evidence and are contrary to law.

The claimant, Mrs. Serebrovich, is a middle-aged immigrant from Russia. In Russia she had five years of dental training at a medical college and taught for several years. However, she could not obtain licensing to practice dentistry in the United States. In May 1976, the claimant began employment as an "escort" at Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her duties in that job required her to push patients about in wheelchairs and to help them in and out of bed. From February 1977 to May 1977 she took a medical leave of absence because of a gall bladder operation. When she returned to work she resumed her chores as an "escort."

After the claimant's return to work, she began to experience physical difficulties in the performance of her work as an "escort," which led her to consult a Dr. Pober in October 1977. The claimant testified, as did Dr. Pober himself, that he advised her to stop the work she was doing because it was having a deleterious effect on her health, Mrs. Serebrovich then informed her employer of her health and physical problems and requested other less strenuous work. According to the claimant, the employer informed her that no such other work was available. Due to this representation by her employer, the claimant resigned her employment on October 11, 1977.

On October 14, 1977, the claimant applied for unemployment benefits; and on October 26, 1977 the Bureau

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 313]

    of Employment Security determined that she was eligible. The employer appealed from that determination, but the Referee affirmed it. Upon further appeal by the employer, the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review reversed the Referee, on March 6, 1978, and denied benefits. The claimant appealed that decision to the Commonwealth Court; but the case was remanded for additional evidence. After the remand hearing, the Board affirmed the ...


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