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BERNICE W. KATZ v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/25/88)

decided: April 25, 1988.

BERNICE W. KATZ, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT. CHARLES WHITE, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, in the cases of In Re: Claims of Bernice W. Katz, Nos. B-248944 and B-254487, and Claims of Charles A. White, Nos. B-253631 and B-249401.

COUNSEL

John Stember, with him, Joseph S. Hornack, Michael Antol, for petitioners.

Patricia Krise-Bilzi, Assistant Counsel, with her, Jonathan Zorach, Assistant Counsel, Clifford F. Blaze, Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Craig

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 426]

Bernice W. Katz and Charles White appeal a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, affirming a referee's decision that denied the claimants' petitions for benefits.

The claimants present two issues for this court's consideration. The first issue is whether, under the facts before the board, the third trimester (spring term) of the employer, the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), is an "academic term" as contemplated by section 402.1(2) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 802.1(2). The second issue is whether an unappealed grant of benefits to the claimants in 1984, based on a determination that the spring term constituted an "academic term", precludes the board from reconsidering the "academic term" issue in claimant's applications for benefits in subsequent years.

Because we conclude that Pitt's spring term is an "academic term" within the meaning of section 402.1(2) of the Law, we reverse.

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 427]

The history of the case is undisputed. In April of 1984 Pitt laid off Mr. White, a dormitory attendant, at the conclusion of the winter term but assured him that he would be rehired for the fall term. Mr. White applied for unemployment compensation benefits, and the board concluded that Pitt's spring term constituted an "academic term" under section 402.1(2) of the Law,*fn1 and therefore, that Mr. White's layoff did not occur between academic terms or years. Accordingly, the board granted Mr. White benefits. The employer did not appeal that decision.

In April of 1984, Pitt also laid off Ms. Katz, a secretary, during the spring term. Ms. Katz applied for and received benefits. Pitt did not appeal the referee's decision granting Ms. Katz unemployment benefits.

In April of 1985 and 1986, Pitt again laid off Mr. White and Ms. Katz during the spring term, and they both applied for unemployment compensation benefits. Pitt contested the applications for benefits. The board reconsidered its 1984 determination and concluded that the spring term did not constitute an "academic term" as contemplated by section 402.1(2) of the Law. Accordingly, the board denied benefits.

Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review committed ...


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