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MECHANICSBURG AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/15/88)

decided: December 15, 1988.

MECHANICSBURG AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, 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 Barbara A. Vollmar, No. B-262704.

COUNSEL

Richard C. Snelbaker, Snelbaker & Elicker, for petitioner.

Maribeth Wilt-Seibert, with her, Gary L. Kelley, Assistant Counsel, and Clifford F. Blaze, Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Doyle and Smith, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 136]

Before this Court is an appeal by the Mechanicsburg Area School District (Employer) from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 137]

(Board), affirming a referee's decision granting benefits to Barbara A. Vollmar (Claimant).

Claimant was employed as a secretary by Employer for three years. Her last day of work was March 31, 1987. In July, 1986, Claimant's husband was informed that the company with which he was employed would be going out of business in September, 1986. Claimant's husband did attempt to obtain employment in the Harrisburg/Mechanicsburg area but was unsuccessful.

On September 15, 1986, Claimant's husband accepted employment with Brooks Equipment Corporation*fn1 which is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Bethlehem is located in excess of 100 miles from Claimant's Mechanicsburg residence and, thus, would have required Claimant's husband to make a one-way commute of approximately two hours. Claimant and her husband could not afford two separate residences; therefore, Claimant voluntarily terminated her employment in order to join her husband.

Employer asserts that Claimant's voluntary termination of her employment was not for cause of necessitous and compelling nature, and, therefore, under Section 402(b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law),*fn2 Claimant should have been denied benefits. We do not agree.

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 138]

Where a claimant voluntarily terminates his or her employment, the claimant bears the burden of establishing that his or her termination was for cause of a necessitous and compelling nature. Ryan v. Unemployment Page 138} Compensation Board of Review, 87 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 465, 487 A.2d 1026 (1985). In order to meet that burden, where a claimant voluntarily terminates employment to follow his/her spouse to a new location, the claimant must show that there is an economic hardship in maintaining two residences or that the move has resulted in an insurmountable commuting problem, and that the claimant's termination is the direct result of the other spouse's relocation. Wheeler v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 69 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 201, 450 A.2d 775 ...


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