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ELIZABETH ROOD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/17/80)

decided: April 17, 1980.

ELIZABETH ROOD, 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 Elizabeth Rood, No. B-163506.

COUNSEL

Robert C. Rowe, for appellant.

Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel and Edward G. Biester, Jr. Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 585]

This appeal has been taken under provisions of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act)*fn1 by Elizabeth Rood (claimant) from a denial of benefits by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board). The Board had affirmed the referee's denial of benefits. Since we agree with this result, we will affirm.

Claimant had been employed by Litton Industries, Lionville, Pennsylvania, from November 20, 1972 until September 12, 1977, at which time she was laid off for lack of work. She remained unemployed but, on May 9, 1978, she received a return-to-work call from Litton Industries. However, in March 1978, claimant decided she would move to Bethel, Pennsylvania, and live with her daughter. As of May 9, 1978, the claimant had moved one-half of her personal belongings to her daughter's residence and had made a rental payment to her daughter. Claimant, therefore, did not return to work for Litton Industries.

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 586]

The Board denied benefits, based on Section 402(a) of the Act, 43 P.S. ยง 802(a), for a refusal by the claimant to accept suitable work. Under Section 402 of the Act, "[a]n employe shall be ineligible for compensation for any week -- (a) In which his unemployment is due to failure, without good cause, . . . to accept suitable work when offered to him . . . by any employer. . . ."

Here, no question as to the suitability of the proffered employment is raised, since it was an offer to return to claimant's former position at the same rate of pay. The issue is simply whether claimant had "good cause" for her refusal to accept the offer of reemployment.

"Good cause" has been defined as "'some necessitous and compelling reason.'" Wolovich Unemployment Compensation Case, 169 Pa. Superior Ct. 356, 359, 82 A.2d 64, 65 (1951). In Trella v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 10 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 305, 307, 309 A.2d 742, 743 (1973), the term was construed to require "'substantial and reasonable grounds'" for refusing the proffered employment. Our Supreme Court has stated that the meaning of "good cause" must be determined in each case from the facts of that case. Barclay White Co. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 356 Pa. 43, 50 A.2d 336 (1947).

In cases involving the question of whether an employee had "good cause" to refuse work, the claimant bears the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and in good faith and that his reasons for refusing employment were substantial. On appeal, the evidence must be viewed in a light most favorable to the party who has prevailed below.

Accordingly, we must conclude that the Board's finding that "good cause" had not been made out by the claimant here ...


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