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PENN HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/03/81)

decided: February 3, 1981.

PENN HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Catherine A. Baratta, No. B-161894.

COUNSEL

John M. Tighe, Tarasi & Tighe, for petitioner.

Stephen B. Lipson, Assistant Attorney General, with him David R. Confer and Dan Schuckers, Assistant Attorneys General, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.

William Fearen, with him Michael I. Levin, for intervenor, Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Crumlish and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, Craig and MacPhail. Judge Williams, Jr. did not participate. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish.

Author: Crumlish

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 292]

An Unemployment Compensation Board of Review decision awarding benefits to a school bus driver whose working days were lost to inclement weather is reversed.*fn1

Catherine A. Baratta, a school bus driver, was employed by the Penn Hills School District both prior to and after the controversial school days during the 1977-78 school year. Repeated snowstorms cancelled

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 293]

    pupil attendance in the district for seven non-consecutive days in January, 1978.*fn2 Student bus transportation for those days was also cancelled. Baratta then applied for unemployment compensation.

The referee and the Board affirmed an award of benefits made by the Office of Employment Security, determining that the claimant was (1) "unemployed" within the definition proscribed by Section 4(u)(II) of the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn3 regardless of the possibility that the lost days would be made up in the future, and (2) "able to work and available for suitable work" and was genuinely and realistically attached to the labor market as mandated by Section 401(d) of the Law.*fn4

Penn Hills argues that benefits are not due a public school employee whose school year work schedule is simply revised if there is no actual loss of work or wages. Penn Hills contends the Board would convert the unemployment compensation ...


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