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MARY V. SOUTHARD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/15/85)

decided: April 15, 1985.

MARY V. SOUTHARD, 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 Mary V. Southard, No. B-175282.

COUNSEL

Kenneth P. Walsh, for petitioner.

Richard F. Faux, Associate Counsel, with him, Charles G. Hasson, Acting Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judge Colins, and Senior Judges Barbieri and Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Colins

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 579]

Claimant, Mary Southard, appeals the decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), denying her benefits because she did not

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 580]

    leave her work for necessitous and compelling reasons.

Claimant left her employment at Honeywell, Inc., in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on March 28, 1979, after nearly fourteen years of working there. She left immediately after discovering that there was radiation emanating from Three Mile Island during a well-publicized nuclear power plant accident. She states that after a lengthy viral illness in 1955 she became aware that radiation caused her to become fatigued, nauseous and generally ill. Therefore, she did not want to be exposed to the radiation because she knew that she had a particular sensitivity to it.

She moved away from the area, was placed on unpaid leave by Honeywell, and she requested that she be allowed to work for the company in some other location. Honeywell was unable to immediately employ her elsewhere. She was denied unemployment compensation benefits by the Office of Employment Security. She appealed and after two hearings the referee denied benefits, finding that she did not have the necessitous and compelling reasons to terminate her employment under Section 402(b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn1 The referee noted, in finding of fact No. 4, that "[t]he claimant had not substantiated her contention with any doctor certification, nor has she been advised by a physician to terminate her employment for health reasons."

Claimant appealed to the Board, which affirmed. Claimant then obtained counsel for the first time, and her counsel requested that the Board vacate and remand for additional testimony. The Board granted the request and two more hearings were held by a

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 581]

    referee, acting as a Hearing Officer for the Board. Dr. Michael Gluck, a board-certified internist and instructor at the Hershey Medical School, testified that the claimant suffered from a particularly high susceptibility to low levels of radiation, that this condition existed in March, 1979, and that he would have advised her to leave the area had he seen her in March, 1979. Dr. Keeford, a radiation chemist, testified that there would probably be further releases of radioactive chemicals from Three Mile Island, possibly of greater levels than had already been released, and that there were already ...


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