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SHARON J. BENNETT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/12/82)

decided: May 12, 1982.

SHARON J. BENNETT, 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 Sharon J. Bennett, No. B-181921.

COUNSEL

Peter B. Macky, for petitioner.

Charles G. Hasson, Associate Counsel, with him Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 456]

Sharon J. Bennett (claimant) appeals an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming a referee's decision to deny her benefits under Section 402(b)(1) of the Pennsylvania Compensation Law.*fn1

The claimant was last employed by the Stettler Hotel as a bartender and had held that position for seven months. On January 3, 1980, she quit her job and subsequently applied for benefits with the Office of Employment Security (Office), but her application was denied on the basis that she did not establish a necessitous or compelling reason for voluntarily terminating

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 457]

    her employment. She appealed this determination and appeared without counsel at a hearing held before a referee where, as in her previous application with the Office, she maintained that she was forced to quit her employment for two reasons: because of problems which the employment caused in her marriage; and, because the bar in which she worked was a "mad house" it being "plain to see that no one bartender could handle it alone" and the other bartender "would just sit there and not help [her]." The referee decided that these reasons were not cause of a necessitous and compelling nature and accordingly denied her application. The Board affirmed without an opinion. We reverse and remand.

Before us the claimant argues that the referee's three findings of fact were insufficient upon which to base his conclusion that benefits be denied. Additionally, she argues that she was not afforded a full and fair hearing inasmuch as the referee failed to assist her in developing relevant and sufficient testimony at the hearing concerning, inter alia, alleged sexual harassment by patrons of which her employer was aware but did not remedy, physical abuse, and illegal underage drinking.

The rules of practice and procedure governing hearings before referees in unemployment compensation cases provide at 34 Pa. Code ยง 101.21(a) that:

In any hearing the tribunal may examine the parties and their witnesses. Where a party is not represented by counsel the tribunal before whom the hearing is being held should advise him as to his rights, aid him in examining and cross-examining witnesses, and give him every assistance ...


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