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ST. BARNABAS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/15/87)

decided: May 15, 1987.

ST. BARNABAS, INC., 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 Beverly Lintz, No. B-233298-B.

COUNSEL

John F. Dugan, with him, Stephen C. Kunkle, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, for petitioner.

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

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

Author: Macphail

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 193]

St. Barnabas, Inc. (Employer) petitions for review of an Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) order which reversed a referee's order and awarded unemployment compensation benefits to Beverly Lintz (Claimant).*fn1 We reverse.

Claimant worked for Employer as an accounting supervisor until March 12, 1984. On March 9, 1984 she submitted her resignation following an incident during which her immediate supervisor, Mr. Joseph Hlinka, allegedly make an unjust accusation concerning her work performance in a loud and abrasive manner.*fn2 The incident, according to Claimant's testimony, followed several years of verbally abusive treatment by Mr. Hlinka.

The Board found that Claimant had been subjected to "humiliating treatment," had been sexually harassed and had suffered adverse health effects as a result of this treatment.*fn3 The Board concluded that Claimant was entitled

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 194]

    to unemployment compensation benefits because she had cause of a necessitous and compelling nature to voluntarily leave her job.*fn4

Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights have been violated, an error of law has been committed, or whether any necessary findings of fact made by the agency are not supported by substantial evidence. Pacini v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 102 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 355, 518 A.2d 606 (1986).

In order to establish cause of a necessitous and compelling nature for terminating employment a claimant must demonstrate that his conduct was consistent with ordinary common sense and prudence and that the circumstances which prompted the severance of the employment relationship were real, not imaginary, substantial, not trifling, and reasonable, not whimsical. Berardi v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 73 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 549, 458 A.2d 668 (1983).

We have held that in order to prove that a claimant has used common sense in voluntarily quitting as a result of sexual harassment, a claimant must show that she made her employer aware of the harassment. West v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 53 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 431, 417 A.2d 872 (1980); Colduvell v. ...


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