Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Orrie U. Long, Sr., No. B-201260.
Joseph M. James, for petitioner.
Charles G. Hasson, Acting Chief Counsel, with him, Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Williams, Jr., Doyle and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 531]
Orrie U. Long, Sr. (claimant) appeals here an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which denied him benefits pursuant to Section 402 of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Special Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(b) (voluntary quit).
After receiving an employment referral from his union, the claimant, who lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, secured employment with the Bechtel Power Corporation, in Salem, New Jersey. On August 9, 1981, he and his wife drove from Pittsburgh to Salem and attempted to find regular lodging in that area. They stayed that night at a motel, which they were required to leave the next morning. He began work that day. Thereafter, he and his wife were left with no alternative but to sleep in their truck, for they could find no other accommodations. The truck was still filled with their household goods and they attempted to find somewhere to live, but learned that a sudden influx of new workers into the area had taken up all accommodations. They made inquiries at four or five hotels, and six real estate offices, answered twelve newspaper advertisements, and also inquired at trailer courts in an area which covered a forty to sixty mile radius around Salem. While these efforts were being made, the claimant missed work on August 11 and 12, and then decided he would have to quit work and return to Pittsburgh. When the company refused to release the check for the wages then due him he stayed in Salem until he received the check and then went home to Pittsburgh on August 20.
The referee denied benefits, and the Board affirmed the decision, reasoning that the claimant's search for housing was neither "exhaustive or
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 532]
lengthy" and, therefore, that his rationale for the termination of his employment was not necessitous and compelling. The narrow question presented for our review, therefore, is whether or not a claimant who terminates his employment due to an inability to secure lodging in the vicinity of his employment, after making the effort made here, has terminated his employment for reasons that are necessitous and compelling and, therefore, is entitled to benefits.
Section 402 of the Law, 43 P.S. § 802(b), in pertinent part, provides:
An employe shall be ineligible for compensation for any week --
(b) In which his unemployment is due to voluntarily leaving work without cause of a necessitous and ...