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BLACKLICK VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/18/81)

decided: February 18, 1981.

BLACKLICK VALLEY 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 case of In Re: Claim of Daniel M. Gresh, No. B-175110.

COUNSEL

John W. Taylor, for petitioner.

Elsa D. Newman-Silverstine, Assistant Attorney General, with her, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 2]

Blacklick Valley School District (District) appeals from decision No. B-175110 of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) dated August 22, 1979 that granted unemployment compensation benefits to Daniel M. Gresh (Claimant). We reverse.

Claimant was last employed for three years by the District as a general music teacher. During the course of his last school year Claimant had defended a charge of aggravated assault made by a student. The charge was dismissed in Court. During the same year, Claimant had received an unsatisfactory work rating which after arbitration was reversed to satisfactory. On March 16, 1979, Claimant submitted his resignation "for personal reasons" effective April 6, 1979. He applied to the Bureau (now Office) of Employment Security (Office) for unemployment compensation benefits. The Office found that the Claimant had voluntarily left his employment for cause of a necessitous and compelling nature and was therefore eligible for benefits under Section 402(b)(1) of

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 3]

    the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn1 The District appealed. After a hearing the referee reversed the Office's decision and denied benefits because the Claimant had failed to meet his burden of proving cause of a necessitous and compelling reason to support his resignation. The Claimant appealed. Finding that Claimant had met that burden, the Board reversed the referee's decision. This appeal followed.

The Claimant has the burden of proof to establish that he terminated his employment for necessitous and compelling reasons. Owen v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 26 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 278, 363 A.2d 852 (1976). In order to sustain this burden the Claimant must show that his conduct was consistent with ordinary common sense and prudence and that the circumstances prompting the severance of employment were real, substantial and reasonable. Aluminum Co. of America v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 15 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 78, 324 A.2d 854 (1974).

It is now axiomatic in an unemployment compensation case, that the findings of fact made by the Board, or by the referee as the case may be, are conclusive on appeal so long as the record, taken as a whole contains substantial evidence to support those findings. . . . The appellate court's duty is to examine the testimony in the light most favorable to the party in whose favor the Board has found,

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 4]

    giving that party the benefit of all inferences that can logically and reasonably be drawn from the testimony, to see if substantial evidence for the ...


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