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RUTH J. BROWN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/16/85)

decided: August 16, 1985.

RUTH J. BROWN, 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 Ruth J. Brown, No. B-222058.

COUNSEL

Robert Senville, for petitioner.

John W. English, Jr., Associate Counsel, with him, Charles G. Hasson, Acting Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail, Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 197]

Ruth J. Brown (Claimant) appeals here from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed the referee's denial of benefits to Claimant pursuant to Section 402(b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn1

The Board found as fact*fn2 that on her last day of work for the County of Berks (Employer), August 19,

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 1981982]

, Claimant sustained a work-related injury. Subsequently, Claimant's only income was her workmen's compensation award which amounted to two-thirds of her salary while employed. Claimant experienced financial hardship for this reason. Because of continuing debt and inability to return to work due to the injury, Claimant resigned from her position effective March, 31, 1983. This action enabled her to withdraw her own contributions to Employer's retirement fund and use those moneys to repay her debts. Claimant's son and his wife lived with her and helped to incur some of the debts. Employer accepted Claimant's resignation, making it clear that if Claimant desired to return to work in the future she would have to reapply as a new employee.*fn3

The record clearly supports the conclusion that Claimant voluntarily terminated her employment; she initiated the severance of the employment relationship and Employer did not do anything which could be understood as discharging Claimant. Our analysis, therefore, must be of whether Claimant's reason for resigning from her employment constitutes necessitous and compelling cause. See Section 402(b) of the Law.*fn4 In order to be eligible for benefits, Claimant must have

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 199]

    acted with ordinary common sense in terminating her employment and must have made a reasonable effort to maintain the employment relationship. Gillooly v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 76 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 20, 462 A.2d 958 (1983). In an early analysis of the circumstances under which an employee could sever the employment relationship and yet remain eligible for compensation benefits, our Superior Court stated

When therefore the pressure of real not imaginary, substantial not trifling, reasonable not whimsical, circumstances compel the decision to leave employment, the decision is voluntary in the sense that the worker has willed it, but involuntary because outward pressures have compelled it. Or to state it differently, if a worker leaves his employment when he is compelled to do so by necessitous circumstances or because of legal ...


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