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CENTRAL DATA CENTER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/15/83)

decided: April 15, 1983.

CENTRAL DATA CENTER, 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 Judith Anne Galardi, No. B-197788.

COUNSEL

Joseph Mack, III, Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, for Petitioner.

Joel G. Cavicchia, Associate Counsel, with him Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Williams, Jr. and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barbieri.

Author: Barbieri

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 466]

Central Data Center (Petitioner) appeals here from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision granting benefits to Judith Anne Galardi (Claimant). We affirm.

Claimant was last employed as a computer systems consultant for Petitioner, a position she held from July of 1979 until April 1, 1981. As part of her duties, Claimant had to be on call to respond to computer malfunctions, and on at least one occasion was called at 2:30 a.m. to resolve a computer problem. In August of 1980, Claimant was hospitalized for a period of five and one-half months for emotional problems, and after returning to work, Claimant concluded that the pressures inherent in her job were causing a recurrence of the symptoms, designated by her medical advisor as danger signals, such as loss of sleep and early depression, indicating that another emotional collapse, or psychosis was imminent. As a result she resigned from her position on April 1, 1981, and successfully applied to the Office of Employment Security for benefits. Petitioner, challenging this grant of benefits, went to a hearing before a referee on June 1, 1980. From the evidence adduced at this hearing, the referee concluded that Claimant's emotional difficulties, coupled with her job stress, gave her reason of a necessitous and compelling nature for terminating her employment, and that she was thus not disqualified from receiving benefits by the provisions of Section 402(b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 467]

    of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess. P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(b). The referee further concluded that Claimant was "able to work and available for suitable work" within the intendment of Section 401(d)(1) of the Law, 43 P.S. § 801(d)(1), since she was capable of, and willing to, accept employment of a less stressful nature. The Board affirmed this determination without making any additional findings, and the present appeal followed.

It is well established, of course, that a claimant has the burden of establishing a voluntary termination was for cause of a necessitous and compelling nature. Donaldson v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 62 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 41, 434 A.2d 912 (1981); Gaiser v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 55 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 259, 423 A.2d 57 (1980). Similarly, a claimant also has the burden of establishing that he or she is ready and available for suitable employment. Ellman v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 47 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 179, 407 A.2d 478 (1979). "It is equally settled that where, as here, the party with the burden of proof has prevailed below, our scope of review is limited to questions of law and, absent fraud, to a determination of whether the Board's findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence." Jula v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 48 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 353, 355, 409 A.2d 953, 954 (1980).

Before this Court, Petitioner, citing, inter alia, our decisions in Farley v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 56 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 502, 424 A.2d 1028 (1981); Coyle v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 56 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 170, 424 A.2d 588 (1981); and McQuiston v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 37 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 250, 390 A.2d 317 (1978), initially alleges that there is no substantial evidence of record to support the referee's

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 468]

    finding that Claimant had compelling medical reasons for terminating her employment. Specifically, Petitioner alleges that the referee impermissibly based his finding entirely on Claimant's own ...


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