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ESTHER PAPA v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (FRANKLIN MINT CORPORATION) (11/07/88)

decided: November 7, 1988.

ESTHER PAPA, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (FRANKLIN MINT CORPORATION), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in the case of Esther Papa v. Franklin Mint Corporation, No. A-91381.

COUNSEL

Barry Levin, for petitioner.

Charles S. Katz, Jr., Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, for respondent, Franklin Mint Corporation.

Judges Doyle and McGinley, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Doyle

[ 121 Pa. Commw. Page 12]

Esther Papa (Claimant) petitions this Court for review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed the decision of the referee denying Claimant's compensation claim. We affirm the Board's order.

Claimant was hired by Franklin Mint Corporation (Employer) in May 1978 as a clerk in the "greenware" department, wherein porcelain products are manufactured. Her duties entailed typing, filing, answering the telephone and handling the payroll. Employer assigned an additional clerk, Peg Hladky (Hladky) to greenware in 1981. Her duties included the preparation of reports evaluating the performance of the workers actually engaged in manufacturing the porcelain products. The preparation of these reports, called "efficiencies," requires some basic mathematical calculations.

In February or March 1982, Employer consolidated the duties of both greenware clerks. Due to her seniority, Claimant was offered the position as the sole greenware clerk. As an alternative, Claimant was offered a clerical position in the product storage area, known also as the "cage." Claimant elected the greenware position and, because of that choice, she required training in the preparation of the efficiencies. The second clerk, Hladky, was to assume clerical duties in the product storage area after training Claimant.

During the following week, Hladky attempted to train Claimant in the preparation of the efficiencies.

[ 121 Pa. Commw. Page 13]

Claimant could not easily grasp the concept involved and was further hampered because she took time off from work during that week. Thereafter, Hladky offered to split her time between greenware and the product storage area in order to provide Claimant with an additional week of training. Another employee spent two hours after work helping Claimant when she found Claimant crying due to the difficulties with the efficiencies.

Despite this additional effort, Claimant continued to experience problems with the efficiencies. On Friday of the second week of Claimant's training, she was offered, and she accepted, another position in the products storage area. She reported to this area on Monday of the following week. Later that week, Claimant complained of a headache and was sent home. She did not return to work thereafter.

Claimant subsequently filed a workmen's compensation petition alleging that she sustained a compensable injury arising in the course of, and related to, her employment due to harassment by co-workers and improper training. She further alleged that as a result of this harassment and improper training she suffered from disabling depression. After eleven hearings, the referee concluded that Claimant failed to meet her burden of proving by substantial competent evidence that she sustained a compensable injury within the meaning of Section 301(c) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1 Claimant appealed the referee's decision dismissing her claim petition to the Board. She alleged that the referee erred ...


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