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G.C. MURPHY COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/28/84)

decided: February 28, 1984.

G.C. MURPHY COMPANY, 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 Verna M. Shipley, No. B-202585.

COUNSEL

Richard A. Chesnik, for petitioner.

Cynthia N. Cline, Associate Counsel, with her Richard Faux, Associate Counsel, and Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Williams

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 466]

G.C. Murphy Company appeals from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review which determined that Verna M. Shipley (claimant) was not ineligible for benefits under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1

The facts are undisputed. For approximately seven years claimant was employed by G.C. Murphy Co. (at its Connellsville store) as a sales clerk earning $3.60 hourly. Upon the breakdown of collective bargaining negotiations between the employer and Teamsters Local Union No. 491 (bargaining unit representative for all non-managerial employes at the Connellsville store), a strike began on September 25, 1980. While on picket duty claimant sustained back injuries after an altercation with a non-striking employe. Although the labor dispute ended in February 1981, claimant, due to her injuries, was unable to resume work until September 1981. On reporting to her employer claimant was directed to sign, as a condition precedent to recall, a document entitled "Release of Liability" absolving the G.C. Murphy Co., its agents and employes "from any and all liability arising from, occurring during, or as a result of the just-concluded economic strike."*fn2

Claimant, with a personal injury action pending against the company for damages resulting from injuries

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 467]

    she sustained during the strike, refused to sign the liability release form. In a letter to the employer dated September 30, 1981, claimant proposed that the company agree to allow her to return to work and to maintain her lawsuit, stating that,

If you are willing to agree to this, please sign this letter . . . and I can then go to work. If you refuse to agree to this, I will not be able to go to work at Murphy's.

The employer refused to waive the condition for recall, and, upon claimant's failure to report to work within five days of the mailing date of the recall notice as required by the strike settlement agreement, her employment was terminated.

Both the Office of Employment Security and the referee denied benefits under Section 402(b) of the Law, 43 P.S. ยง 802(b), concluding that claimant voluntarily left work without necessitous and compelling cause. The board, without taking additional evidence, concluded that claimant had ...


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