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LAURIE WURSTER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/11/86)

decided: December 11, 1986.

LAURIE WURSTER, 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 Laurie Wurster, No. B-238652.

COUNSEL

James T. Rague, Spencer, Gleason & Hebe, for petitioner.

Jonathan Zorach, Associate Counsel, with him, Paul E. Baker, Acting Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 418]

Laurie Wurster (petitioner) petitions for review of a decision and order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which denied benefits, pursuant to Section 402(b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act),*fn1 to the extent provided by Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Fabric, 24 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 238, 354 A.2d 905 (1976).*fn2

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 419]

The specific weeks involved in this matter are the weeks ending September 1, 1984 and September 8, 1984. Inasmuch as a separation issue is presented on review and the record indicates that the petitioner continued to file claims for weeks subsequent to the weeks herein noted, our holding will control the petitioner's eligibility in such subsequent weeks as well.

The Board pertinently found that the petitioner was a part-time temporary instructor at Williamsport Area Community College (College); that her employment was on a semester-by-semester basis contingent upon course enrollment; that during her last period of employment, the 1984 summer term, which ended on August 3, 1984, the petitioner indicated to her department head that she had been accepted for graduate school and would be relocating to New England for the fall; that, based on the information she provided, the College did not contact her for possible employment in the 1984 fall semester; and that the College had work available for her in the 1984 fall semester if she had wished to continue under the same circumstances as in the past.

The petitioner contends that the Board erred (1) by considering whether or not she had "reasonable assurance" of returning to work in the fall semester and (2) by concluding that she had voluntarily terminated her employment.

As the petitioner correctly notes, the term "reasonable assurance" is a term of art specifically related to Section 402.1 of the Act,*fn3 and it is utilized to determine eligibility during the periods between school years, semesters and terms, or during holiday breaks. Due to this nexus with such periods, Section 402.1 is

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 420]

    generally inapplicable to a determination of whether or not an employee has voluntarily terminated employment.*fn4 The Board here, however, apparently has adopted the "reasonable assurance" concept in attempting to articulate its conclusion that the employment relationship between the petitioner and the College would have continued according to the past practice had not ...


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