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LEWIS FUNKHOUSER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/16/80)

decided: July 16, 1980.

LEWIS FUNKHOUSER, 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 Lewis Funkhouser, No. B-16648.

COUNSEL

Susan J. Pearlstein, with her Joy V. Maffei and William J. Fries, for petitioner.

William J. Kennedy, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 34]

Lewis Funkhouser (claimant) appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming a referee's decision that the claimant was ineligible for benefits because he had voluntarily terminated his employment without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature.

The claimant was employed by the Goodyear Tire Company (employer) as a tire buffer and was required to operate a machine that removed the tread from used tires. On his last day of work on June 14,

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 351978]

, for reasons not revealed in the record, he experienced extreme difficulty in the performance of his job so that not only was his productivity affected adversely, but increased damage was done to the tires from which he removed the tread. His supervisor called the claimant's home the next morning and spoke with the claimant's wife about the problems which had occurred at work the day before, and, when the claimant learned of the call, he returned to the employer's plant where an angry conversation then ensued between his supervisor and him. During this confrontation, the supervisor recommended that the claimant take a week of vacation. The claimant refused and instead told the supervisor that he was quitting. After this incident, the claimant entered a hospital for two weeks and underwent physical and psychological examinations. Approximately three weeks after his discharge from the hospital, he unsuccessfully attempted to be rehired by the employer.

The claimant contends that he was suffering from emotional problems which placed him in an irrational state of mind at the time he quit work and that his leaving was therefore not voluntary under Section 402(b)(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 42 P.S. § 802(b)(1). In the alternative, he contends that his mental state constituted a "cause of a necessitious and compelling nature" for his quitting work.

Section 402(b)(1) of the Law, 43 P.S. § 802(b)(1), provides in part:

An employee shall be ineligible for compensation for any week --

(b)(1) In which his unemployment is due to voluntarily leaving work without cause of a necessitous ...


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