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VINCENT M. HOCK v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/16/80)

decided: April 16, 1980.

VINCENT M. HOCK, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW AND LEHIGH PORTLAND CEMENT COMPANY, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Vincent M. Hock, No. B-168122.

COUNSEL

Vincent M. Hock, for himself, petitioner.

Gary Marini, Assistant Attorney General, with him David R. Confer, Assistant Attorney General, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondents.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 518]

The sole issue raised by this appeal is whether the receipt of termination benefits disqualifies a claimant from receiving unemployment compensation benefits pursuant to Sections 4(u) and 404 of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. [1937] 2897, as amended,

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 51943]

P.S. ยงยง 753(u) and 804. We are constrained to hold that such receipt does not disqualify a claimant from receiving unemployment compensation benefits.

The facts of this case are not in dispute. Vincent M. Hock (Claimant) was employed as a corporate attorney by Lehigh Portland Cement Company (Employer) from April 1, 1968 until September 28, 1978, his last day of work. Employer terminated Claimant's position on that date because of a desire to reduce the size of its staff. At the time of the termination, Claimant was receiving a salary of $2,850.00 per month. Upon his termination, Claimant received a lump sum payment of $1,183.86 representing vacation pay. He was maintained on Employer's payroll until December 15, 1978. During that time, he received payments amounting to 11 weeks of his prior salary and various fringe benefits. The salary payments were based on his service with Employer -- one week's salary for each year of employment.

Following the termination, Claimant applied for unemployment compensation benefits. His application was refused by the Bureau (now Office) of Employment Security (Bureau) on the basis that he was not "unemployed" as that term is defined in Section 4(u) of the Law. Claimant appealed the Bureau's decision and following a brief hearing at which Claimant and Employer's representative testified, the referee affirmed the Bureau's determination. Claimant appealed the referee's decision to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which remanded the matter to the referee for the purpose of taking further testimony on certain issues. Neither Claimant nor Employer offered further testimony at the remand hearing, but Claimant did submit a letter addressing the issues raised by the Board. The Board then affirmed the referee's earlier decision and Claimant appealed that order to this Court.

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 520]

In 1949, our Superior Court held in Fazio Unemployment Compensation Case, 164 Pa. Superior Ct. 9, 63 A.2d 489 (1949), that the receipt of "voluntary dismissal pay" rendered a claimant ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits. That Court reached a similar decision in 1961 in Parker Unemployment Compensation Case, 196 Pa. Superior Ct. 344, 174 A.2d 664 (1961). Due to subsequent amendments in the law governing ...


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