Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In re: Claim of Kathleen A. Gillooly, No. B-194643.
Margaret A. O'Connor, for petitioner.
Bruce E. Rodger, Kassab, Cherry and Archbold, for intervenor.
No appearance for respondent.
Judges Rogers, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
Kathleen A. Gillooly (Claimant) appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed a referee's denial of unemployment compensation benefits on the grounds that Claimant had voluntarily terminated her employment without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature and that she was not able and available for suitable work at the time she filed her application for benefits. See Sections 402(b) and 401(d)(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. §§ 802(b), 801(d)(1).
Claimant, who was last employed by the Caldwell Manufacturing Company (Employer)*fn1 as a secretary, left her employment on December 19, 1980 in order to give birth to her child, apparently that same day. The referee found that prior to her departure Claimant trained a replacement secretary, did not request a leave of absence and informed her Employer that she did not intend to work for at least six months following the birth of her child. In actuality, Claimant contacted
the Employer less than two months later, on February 10, 1981, and expressed a desire to return to work part-time on a shift different from that on which she had worked previously. Since Employer had no such positions available, Claimant applied for unemployment compensation benefits. Following a hearing, the referee denied benefits under Sections 402(b) and 401(d)(1) of the Law. The Board affirmed, and Claimant perfected her appeal to this Court.
Claimant has raised several issues in her appeal, the first of which concerns the referee's conclusion, which was affirmed by the Board, that Claimant voluntarily terminated her employment without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature. Claimant contends that the birth of her child provided an immediate health reason justifying her temporary absence from work and that she thought she would be returning to work in some capacity with Employer after her eight week disability insurance benefits ended. Claimant challenges the referee's finding that "she did not intend to work for at least six months after the birth of her child." With regard to the referee's finding that Claimant failed to request a leave of absence, which Employer contends must be made in writing, Claimant argues that she was unaware of Employer's policy regarding leaves of absence.
Claimant, of course, bears the burden of proving that her voluntary termination was based on necessitous and compelling reasons. Deiss v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 475 Pa. 547, 381 A.2d 132 (1977). Claimant must establish that she acted with ordinary common sense in leaving her job and that she made a reasonable effort to preserve her employment. Stiffler v. Unemployment Compensation ...