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WALN K. BROWN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/15/81)

decided: July 15, 1981.

WALN K. BROWN, 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 Waln K. Brown, No. B-186542.

COUNSEL

L. C. Heim, Dell'Alba, Heim & Lecates, for petitioner.

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

Judges Mencer, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 534]

Waln Brown (Claimant) appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed the decision of a referee to deny unemployment compensation benefits to Claimant. The referee determined that remuneration received by Claimant in the form of a grant did not constitute "wages" for "employment" as those terms are defined in Sections 4(x) and 4(1)(2)(B) respectively of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. ยงยง 753(x) and 753(1)(2)(B).

Claimant performed research for the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) from the summer of 1977 through August, 1979. The NCJJ is the research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, a private, non-profit corporation. Claimant spent the first nine months of this period as a contract employee developing a research methodology aimed toward obtaining a grant to fund a proposed project relative to court adjudicated juvenile delinquents. Claimant was compensated at a per diem rate of $100 during this nine month period. An $87,000 grant was ultimately obtained from the Buhl Foundation. Claimant's compensation under the grant was increased to $130 per day beginning June 1, 1978 and ending August 31, 1979. Claimant applied for unemployment compensation benefits on August 26, 1979. His application was denied by the Bureau (now Office) of Employment Security based on the conclusion that the grant monies did not constitute "wages" as defined by Section 4(x) of the Law. Claimant appealed this determination and after two hearings the referee affirmed based on Sections 4 (x) and 4(1)(2)(B) of the Law. Upon appeal to the Board, the Claimant sought a

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 535]

    remand for further hearing on the "employment" issue raised by Section 4(1)(2)(B). This request was denied and the Board affirmed the referee's decision.

In his appeal to this Court, Claimant raises three issues: 1) did the remuneration paid to Claimant constitute "wages" as defined by the Law; 2) did the services rendered by Claimant constitute "employment" as defined by the Law; and 3) was Claimant denied due process of law when he was denied the opportunity to address the "employment" issue before the referee and the Board? In addition, the Board now requests a remand for further testimony and findings on the "employment" issue. For the reasons which follow, we conclude that we must remand to the Board.

Section 4(x) of the Law defines "wages", in pertinent part, as follows:

'Wages' means all remuneration, . . . paid by an employer to an individual with respect to his employment. . . . (Emphasis added.)

In order to determine whether the remuneration paid to Claimant constituted "wages",*fn1 the referee applied the fact findings to the Law's definition of "employment." That definition, which appears ...


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