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THOMAS J. WEAVER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/22/81)

decided: June 22, 1981.

THOMAS J. WEAVER, 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 Thomas J. Weaver, No. B-184679.

COUNSEL

Richard K. Hohn, with him Joseph Lurie, Galfand, Berger, Senesky, Lurie & March, for petitioner.

Stephen B. Lipson, Assistant Attorney General, with him John Kupchinsky, Assistant Attorney General, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Blatt, Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Blatt

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 137]

The petitioner*fn1 seeks review of a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which denied him benefits on the grounds that he voluntarily terminated his employment.*fn2

The petitioner's employer laid off a number of employees due to lack of work on January 23, 1980, and the petitioner's seniority rank would have placed him among the furloughed employees except that a provision of the existing collective bargaining agreement exempted him from such a layoff because of his position

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 138]

    as recording secretary for the local union. The petitioner resigned from his union position on January 24, 1980, thus forfeiting his exempt status, and when he returned to work the next day he was laid off. The petitioner's claim for unemployment benefits was denied by the Office of Employment Security and, after a hearing, that determination was affirmed by the referee. On further appeal, the Board upheld the denial of benefits, finding that the petitioner had voluntarily terminated his employment in that he himself had "set into motion the process which caused him to be unemployed."

The petitioner claims that his unemployment was related directly to his employer's reduction in work force and that his resignation did nothing more than place him in a more vulnerable seniority position, as occurred in the case of Jarrett Unemployment Compensation Case, 182 Pa. Superior Ct. 491, 128 A.2d 184 (1956).

We cannot agree.

In Jarrett, the claimant lost all of her seniority rights with respect to layoffs when she married, as was provided by the collective bargaining agreement in effect. Approximately 22 months later, the employer laid off a number of employees, including the claimant, and the court there held that her employment was not directly caused by her marriage, but was, instead a consequence of the employer's reduction in work force, which was a circumstance over which the claimant had no control.

We believe that the case of Fisher v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 38 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 518, 393 A.2d 1304 (1978), is more analogous to the present situation. The claimant there signed off a specialized job and entered the employer's labor pool and as a result he was ...


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