Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission in case of Peggy Laws v. Philadelphia County Board of Assistance, Department of Public Welfare, No. 2491.
Harold I. Goodman, with him Alan L. Phillips, for appellant.
Jerry I. Drew, Deputy Attorney General, with him John O. J. Shellenberger, Deputy Attorney General and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. President Judge Bowman did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 341]
Peggy Laws (Petitioner) appeals from an order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission), which sustained the action of the Philadelphia County
[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 342]
Board of Assistance in the suspension and removal of Petitioner from her position as Income Mantenance Worker II.
Petitioner was employed by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) through the Philadelphia County Board of Assistance (Board of Assistance) as an Income Maintenance Worker II from September, 1977, when she was transferred from the Neighborhood Service Center to the Delancey District Office, until July 17, 1978, when notified of her discharge. As an Income Maintenance Worker II, Petitioner was required to do "field work," such as visiting homes to verify eligibility of applicants for assistance. Petitioner has suffered from degenerative arthritis for several years and this debilitating condition made difficult her walking, which was necessary in the performance of the field work involved in her job. Petitioner also suffered during employment at the Delancey District from chest pains and other angina-like symptoms.
On the basis of one or both of these physical conditions, Petitioner several times beginning in September, 1977, requested a transfer or reassignment to the "applications" department, which required no field work. All such requests were rejected by the Board of Assistance. In April, 1978, following her most severe angina attack, Petitioner requested a leave without pay, which was granted. Prior to and upon returning to work on June 12, 1978, Petitioner again requested a transfer, even if it meant a voluntary demotion. On returning to work, Petitioner was instructed by her supervisor to read her cases and "prepare to go into the field." She replied to her supervisor that she was unable to perform the field work because of her arthritis, and she was sent home.
Petitioner subsequently received from the district administrator a suspension notice, on June 15, 1978,
[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 343]
followed by a request by the personnel director for medical information certifying to the physical limitations of her arthritic condition. Upon production of the medical certification, the personnel department presented Petitioner with two options: (1) to take a voluntary demotion to a Clerk II position, which meant nearly a $5,000.00 pay reduction, or (2) to apply for a disability retirement. Petitioner rejected both ...