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CAROL F. SCHECHTER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/25/85)

decided: April 25, 1985.

CAROL F. SCHECHTER, 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: Appeal of Carol F. Schechter, No. B-219650.

COUNSEL

Robert E. Rains, Rains & Jacobsen, for petitioner.

James K. Bradley, Associate Counsel, with him, Charles G. Hasson, Acting Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 26]

Carol F. Schechter (claimant) appeals here an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed the referee's denial of benefits on the grounds that the claimant voluntarily terminated her employment without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature. Section 402(b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937), as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(b).

The facts are not in dispute. The claimant worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Health (employer) in Harrisburg from May 1973 until January 1983 when she left her job as a Public Health Executive II to join her husband in Arlington, Virginia. She had married David Narrow, an attorney working for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., in May 1980. For the first year of their marriage, the couple lived apart during the week and spent weekends together, alternating the locale. When this arrangement proved too burdensome, Mr. Narrow arranged to work a four-day week and to spend the weekends in Harrisburg, although he continued to maintain a separate residence in Arlington, Virginia. In July 1982, the claimant went on maternity leave. Two months later, in September, the couple's first child was born, and Mr. Narrow then decided to return to full-time employment at the Federal Trade Commission because of the possibility of layoffs among the part-time employees. Believing that the maintenance of two households was no longer economically feasible and desiring to raise the child together, the family moved to their Arlington, Virginia residence in December 1982. At the end of her maternity leave, the claimant quit her job in Harrisburg.

The sole question before us is whether or not the claimant's resignation was of a necessitous and compelling

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 27]

    cause within the meaning of Section 402(b) of the Law. We, of course, are empowered to review all questions of law on appeal. Section 702 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 702.

The claimant, citing Wheeler v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 69 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 201, 450 A.2d 775 (1982), argues that the Board erred in concluding that she was not forced either by financial circumstances or by an insurmountable transportation problem to quit her job. She further maintains that an award of benefits in her case will be in keeping with the liberal construction to be accorded the Unemployment Compensation Law.

Following the 1980 Amendment to Section 402(b) of the Law,*fn1 we ruled that a claimant who voluntarily terminates her employment because of family obligations may receive benefits where she can establish that the cause was necessitous and compelling. Wheeler. Thus, in Steck v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 78 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 514, 467 A.2d 1378 (1983), we held that a claimant, who left her job as a teacher's aide to follow her husband to Arizona, was eligible for benefits in light of the fact that the move was precipitated by her husband's ill health. Yet, in Kleban v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 73 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 540, 459 A.2d 53 (1983), we affirmed the Board's denial ...


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