Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of William F. Weist, No. B-147159.
Susan H. Wilkie, Feldstein, Grinberg, Stein & McKee, for petitioner.
William J. Kennedy, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Attorney General, for respondent.
Judge Wilkinson, Jr., Williams, Jr. and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. Judge Palladino dissents.
[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 623]
This is an appeal by Break N Eat Corporation (employer) from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), granting benefits to William Weist after further consideration of the augmented record.
The claimant was last employed by Break N Eat for eight months as a full-time salesman; his last day of work was April 26, 1976. On that day, he was beaten by a management official and suffered three broken ribs, some loose teeth and other injuries. Claimant collected workmen's compensation benefits for those injuries until December 20, 1976. Although claimant's
[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 624]
job was kept open for him until February 22, 1977, he never returned to his employment. Claimant's subsequent application for unemployment benefits was initially denied by both the Bureau of Employment Security and the referee after a hearing at which claimant appeared without legal counsel. The denial of benefits to claimant was based on the provisions of Section 402(b)(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act)*fn1 following a determination by the referee that the claimant brought about his unemployment by making no reasonable effort to notify the employer as to when claimant expected to be able to resume work. However claimant's appeal to the Board of Review resulted in a remand hearing and a subsequent reversal of the referee's decision. A further appeal by the employer and a second remand hearing pursuant to an order of this Court resulted in the final order of the Board of Review from which the instant appeal is taken.
Based on the testimony taken at that final remand hearing and upon consideration of the entire augmented record, the referee found that the claimant abandoned his employment because he had been beaten by a management official on his last day of work. The physical abuse of the claimant was the culmination of a verbal argument between the claimant and management officials concerning the claimant's work performance and his involvement with union activities. The referee further found that the claimant did not return to work because he feared for his health and safety.*fn2
[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 625]
On the basis of these facts, the referee concluded that the claimant had acted in a totally reasonable manner and cannot be denied benefits under Section 402(b)(1) of the Act since he had demonstrated a necessitous and compelling reason for voluntarily terminating his employment. We agree.
The instant case presents a similar if not stronger example of "good cause" for leaving employment than the standards set forth in Taylor v. Unemployment Compensation Board ...