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MAXINE M. HELSEL v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/22/80)

decided: October 22, 1980.

MAXINE M. HELSEL, 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 Maxine M. Helsel, No. B-165989.

COUNSEL

Jeffrey H. Gribb, for petitioner.

Steven Marcuse, with him David R. Confer, Assistant Attorneys General, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 54 Pa. Commw. Page 322]

Maxine M. Helsel (Claimant) appeals to this Court from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming the decision of a referee which denied unemployment compensation benefits to Claimant. The referee, in affirming the determination of the Bureau (now Office) of Employment Security (Bureau), found that Claimant voluntarily terminated her employment without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature and, therefore, was ineligible to receive benefits under the provisions of Section 402(b)(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(b)(1). For the reasons which follow, we affirm.

Claimant was employed by Proctor Silex Corporation (Employer) as an assembler at the average rate of $3.04 per hour from November 15, 1977 until June 16, 1978 at which time she was laid off due to a plant shut down. Claimant's last day of work was August 7, 1978, the first day of her return to work after she was recalled. On that day Claimant, after a brief assignment to the motor line, was directed to return to her regularly assigned department. Her supervisor then reassigned Claimant to work on the Juicit line.*fn1 Claimant refused the assignment. Upon Claimant's refusal to comply with his work order, the foreman

[ 54 Pa. Commw. Page 323]

    took her to the Personnel Office where he directed her to either resign or be terminated. After a discussion with the Personnel Manager, Claimant signed a resignation slip and left Employer's premises.

The issue presented for our consideration is whether the events described render Claimant's termination of employment voluntary or involuntary.*fn2 The referee found as facts that Claimant walked off her job and was not discharged. Claimant maintains, however, that while she did refuse to work on the Juicit line, her supervisor's action in directing her to resign or be terminated was tantamount to a firing. Although conflicts do exist in the record, we affirm the referee's findings.

This Court's scope of review in unemployment compensation appeals where the decision below was adverse to the party who bore the burden of proof before the Board, is limited to determining whether the findings of fact are consistent with each other and with the conclusions of law and whether the findings can be sustained without a capricious disregard of competent evidence. Sweigart v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 47 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 421, 408 A.2d 561 (1979). Whether an employee's unemployment is a result of voluntarily leaving work is a question of law and properly subject to our review. The resolution of that legal question normally depends upon the underlying findings of fact. Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 39 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 170, 394 A.2d 1329 (1978). Finally, we note that this Court must examine the testimony in the light most favorable to the party

[ 54 Pa. Commw. Page 324]

    in whose favor the Board rendered its decision. Taylor v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, ...


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