Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Darrel Edwards, No. B-171974.
Robert A. Berkowitz, for petitioner.
Elsa Newman-Silverstine, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.
Alexander J. Jaffurs, County Solicitor, with him, James Culp, Assistant County Solicitor and George N. Jannocsko, for County of Allegheny.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish.
[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 557]
This is an appeal from the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review's denial of benefits pursuant to Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1 We affirm.
Darrel Edwards was last employed by the Allegheny County Shuman Juvenile Detention Center as a Child Care Worker in the Jobpower program, which provides employment to low-income and minority unemployed. On August 15, 1978, Edwards
[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 558]
filed a grievance based upon his employer's failure to equivalently upgrade his salary in November of 1977 with other Jobpower employees. This problem, coupled with increased supervisory responsibilities, resulted in a nervous condition, which caused Edwards to notify his employer of illness on August 24, 1978. However, Edwards was physician-certified fit to work on September 8, 1978, and did not return until after the November 22, 1978 receipt of his grievance approval letter. Upon reporting for work that day, he found a termination letter, dated November 20, 1978, removing him from payroll because of the failure to either substantiate his continued absence or report for duty. Although Edwards claims to have requested a leave of absence, the referee denied benefits on the basis of a "voluntary quit" without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature as provided by Section 402(b)(1) of the Law, 43 P.S. § 802(b)(1). The Board modified the referee's decision, finding that claimant's separation was not voluntary, but was an employer-initiated termination due to willful misconduct.
Edwards initially argues that the Board erred by denying benefits under Section 402(e) rather than Section 402(b)(1)'s "voluntarily leaving work" provision. The phrase specifically refers to a claimant who has "left of his own motion; he was not discharged. It is the opposite of a discharge, dismissal or layoff by the employer or other action by the employer severing relations with his employes. . . ." Hutt v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 28 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 57, 59-60, 367 A.2d 390, 391 (1976), citing Labor and Industry Department v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 133 Pa. Superior Ct. 518, 521, 3 A.2d 211, 213 (1938). Since there was an involuntary termination of employment, the Board properly treated this case as one involving a
[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 559]
discharge for willful misconduct. See Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Simone, 24 Pa. ...