Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of John Iaconelli, No. B-176202.
Terry L. Fromson, for petitioner.
Stephen B. Lipson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 118]
Petitioner (claimant) appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) reversing a referee's grant of benefits. The Board found that claimant voluntarily terminated his employment without a cause of a necessitous and compelling nature and was therefore ineligible for benefits
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 119]
under Section 402(b)(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (act), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(b)(1). We affirm.
Claimant was last employed by Lee Tire and Rubber Company as a reliner from August 24, 1974 to March 16, 1979. On the latter date claimant voluntarily signed a resignation slip and effectively terminated his employment in order to allegedly avoid a confrontation with a hostile co-worker and a continuing threat to his physical well-being. Specifically, the claimant stated that he left work after a fellow co-worker verbally and physically harassed him and threatened to wait for him in the parking lot after work. Claimant further alleged that he felt his life had been threatened and that he received no assistance from the shift supervisor who was present during the entire incident. After the incident claimant proceeded directly to the supervisors' office where his request for an immediate transfer to another department was denied. As a result of the denial claimant elected to terminate employment rather than return to work in the same department.
At the subsequent hearing before the referee, claimant testified that although there had been "quite a number" of threatening confrontations with the same co-worker, he had not reported the problem to management despite his awareness of company policy which dictates that any such incidents be reported immediately. Claimant also testified that he signed his resignation "in a fit of anger," that he was aware of the job bidding procedure used by his employer, and that he could have "bid off" his job in August 1978 but refrained from doing so because he did not consider his problem with the other employee serious at that time.
Where voluntary termination is relied on the claimant has the burden of proving that his quitting was for
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 120]
cause of a necessitous and compelling nature. Sabella v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 52 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 258, 415 A.2d 722 (1980). Specifically, the termination must be precipitated by job pressures which are "both real and substantial, and which would compel a reasonable person under the circumstances to act in the same manner." Id. at , 415 A.2d at 723. Since the claimant here did not prevail below, review by this Court is limited to a determination of whether there has been a capricious disregard of competent evidence or ...