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SHEILA N. SEEHERMAN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/06/81)

decided: January 6, 1981.

SHEILA N. SEEHERMAN, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Sheila Seeherman, No. B-165508-B and B-174002.

COUNSEL

Jerome L. Cohen, for petitioner.

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

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Craig and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 644]

Petitioner (claimant) appeals from two orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), consolidated for consideration in this Court, which denied her benefits for two separate claim periods. We affirm.

The same operative facts gave rise to the two claims submitted by claimant. Claimant was last employed by Israel Ben Zion Academy (employer) as a teacher's assistant in the kindergarten under a written contractual agreement for the school year 1977-1978. She had been employed there in the same capacity for the proceding five academic years. In April of 1978, employer tendered a written employment contract to

[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 645]

    claimant for the 1978-1979 school year to be returned by May 31, 1978. Not satisfied with the contract, claimant chose not to respond to the offered contract except by initiating a series of negotiations with her employer, which continued into the middle of August, 1978, concerning possible terms of a contract for the next year. Her last day of work was June 8, 1978 at which time the school closed for summer vacation.

One appeal, 356 C.D. 1979, arises from claimant's application for unemployment benefits for three compensable weeks ending June 17, June 24, and July 1, 1978. In response to the claim, in a statement given to the Bureau (now Office) of Employment Security, employer stated that claimant had a reasonable assurance of a job for the coming year. The Board affirmed the Bureau's and referee's denial of benefits on the ground that employer had given claimant a reasonable assurance of reemployment thereby disqualifying claimant under the terms of Section 402.1(2) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, added by Section 5 of the Act of July 6, 1977, P.L. 41, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802.1(2).

The second appeal, 1524 C.D. 1979, arose from a claim filed after claimant did not return to her position at the school for the 1978-1979 academic year. In following up employer's statement that a job was reasonably assured to her, claimant met with the principal of the school on August 21, 1978. She was then informed that her name could be placed on a list with the other applicants for the job if she so desired. She declined to allow this stating that she didn't think she should be considered a mere applicant. Claimant's application for benefits for the compensable weeks ending September 9, 1978 through January 6, 1979 was denied on the ground that she had refused suitable employment without "good cause" within the meaning of

[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 646]

Section 402(a) of the Act, 43 P.S. § 802(a).*fn1 The referee and ...


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