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RONALD ROBERTS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/23/81)

decided: July 23, 1981.

RONALD ROBERTS, 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 Ronald Roberts, No. B-176114-C.

COUNSEL

Jerome L. Munford, for petitioner.

John P. Kupchinsky, Assistant Attorney General, with him Steven R. Marcuse, Assistant Attorney General, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Craig

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 22]

In this unemployment compensation appeal, the claimant*fn1 questions an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review denying him benefits, which affirmed the referee's determination*fn2 that the claimant was ineligible because he voluntarily quit his employment without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature.*fn3

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 23]

The claimant was employed by Allegheny County at John J. Kane Hospital as a licensed practical nurse. While on a scheduled vacation from June 5 to June 11, 1979, he received a registered letter from his supervisor; the correspondence, dated June 8, 1979, was on pink-colored paper, but was labeled "Official Reprimand Form."

The notice summarized past disciplinary action taken against the claimant for documented medication errors; it then stated that the claimant had failed to sign off drugs on the chart on two recent dates, as required.

The letter concluded by stating:

Following the review of all previous medicine errors, it has been determined that you are not capable of passing medicines safely and in the best interest of patient care, you will no longer function at Kane Hospital under the job description of a Licensed L.P.N. as of June 6, 1979. (Emphasis added.)

Believing that he had been discharged, the claimant did not return to work at the end of his vacation. Three days after the vacation period ended, he contacted the head of the Human Relations Department, who advised him to speak to the assistant administrator. When the claimant finally reached the assistant administrator, five days later, that official told the claimant that his employment had been terminated as a voluntary quit, for his failure to return to work within three days after the end of the vacation period.

The board found as a fact that claimant had interpreted the letter as a discharge, but concluded that the letter contained no language which indicated that the claimant's services were terminated, and hence concluded further that the employer had ...


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