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JOSEPH C. CORBACIO v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/25/83)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: October 25, 1983.

JOSEPH C. CORBACIO, 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 Joseph C. Corbacio, No. B-210449.

COUNSEL

Stephen R. Krone, for petitioner.

Michael D. Alsher, Associate Counsel, with him Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Craig, Barry and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 71]

Joseph C. Corbacio (claimant) appeals here an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision denying benefits under Section 3 of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 752 (public policy declaration that benefits will be granted to persons unemployed through no fault of their own).

The relevant facts, as found by the referee and affirmed by the Board, are as follows. The claimant was employed as a delivery driver and warehouseman for AGM Inc. (employer). He was cited for several off-the-job speeding violations which, after hearing and appeals, resulted in the revocation of his operator's

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 72]

    license. A requirement of his employment as a delivery driver was, of course, that he possess a valid Pennsylvania operator's license. The employer had no other position in its organizational structure in which to place the claimant, and because of his loss of a license to drive, involuntarily terminated his employment. The Office of Employment Security (OES) denied the claimant's application for benefits under Section 402(e) of the Law, 43 P.S. § 802(e) (wilful misconduct), however, on appeal to the referee, benefits were denied under Section 3 of the Law, 43 P.S. § 752. After the Board affirmed, the claimant filed the instant appeal.

Pursuant to Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 704, we must affirm the Board's adjudication unless a party's constitutional rights were violated or there was an error of law, or necessary findings of fact are not supported by substantial evidence.

The claimant argues first that the referee acted improperly in basing his decision on a legal theory not relied upon by the OES. In support of this argument, he cites to several sections of the administrative regulations, 34 Pa. Code § 101.87*fn1 and 34 Pa. Code § 101.107,*fn2 which appear to limit the issues which may

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 73]

    be considered on appeal. And, inasmuch as the referee decided the case under Section 3, as opposed to the decision of the OES's based upon Section 402(e), he argues that his case should be remanded.

This Court has recently rejected a similar argument in Gould v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 77 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 554, 446 A.2d 750 (1983). In Gould, Judge Craig reviewed the above-cited regulations, as well as the Supreme Court decision in Wing v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 496 Pa. 113, 436 A.2d 179 (1981) and held that, although the claimant in Gould was initially denied benefits under the voluntary quit provision of the Law,*fn3 it was proper for the Board to decide the matter under Section 3. Concerning the Wing decision, Gould stated that the issue of waiver presented there was not applicable because Wing concerned an issue of waiver not raised before any administrative body, but only raised the first time before this Court. In Gould and in this case, the question of the applicability

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 74]

    of Section 3 was raised before the compensation authorities; Wing, therefore, is not controlling.

Moreover, as the Board argues, the claimant was advised and clearly had notice that the referee, at the hearing, would consider the applicability of several sections of the Law, including Section 3, in addition to Section 402(e). See Libonate v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 57 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 422, 426 A2.d 247 (1981). And, inasmuch as no additional facts were elicited, there was no change in the burden of proof, and there was clearly no prejudice to the claimant, remand would be unnecessary. The claimant was aware at all times of the factual basis on which his eligibility turned, for the relevant inquiry was always whether or not the claimant did in fact lose his operator's license and whether or not possession of that license was a valid condition of employment. We find no prejudice here, nor waiver under Wing or the regulations cited.*fn4

Regarding the merits of the claim, it is now well-settled that Section 3 provides an independent ground for disqualification. Gould; Dombroskie v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 45 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 546, 403 A.2d 1044 (1979). And, this Court has held in similar cases that, where possession

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 75]

    of an operator's license is a requirement for employment and the claimant loses that license and is consequently dismissed, benefits will be denied under Section 3. Huff v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 40 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 11, 396 A.2d 94 (1979), aff'd, 487 Pa. 448, 409 A.2d 854 (1980); Varmecky v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 60 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 640, 432 A.2d 635 (1981).

Having reviewed the evidence below, we believe the referee's findings to be supported by substantial evidence, and, in light of the decisions of Huff and Varmecky, we will affirm the Board.

Order

And Now, this 25th day of October, 1983, the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the above-captioned matter is hereby affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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