Thursday, May 29, 2008

UC - voluntary quit - "purely personal reasons"

Johnson v. UCBR - Commonwealth Court - May 29, 2008 - UNREPORTED DECISION

Claimant was denied UC benefits when she quit her part-time, weekend job without good cause under sec. 4021(b) of the UC Law. Her desire to spend more time with elderly family members was not good cause, in the absence of proof that her presence was required for them to get proper care. Her reason for leaving was thus "purely personal." She also failed to establish that she discussed the issue with her employer or made other efforts to preserve her job.

"Under certain circumstances, the family obligations of a claimant may constitute necessitous and compelling cause to quit employment. Du-Co Ceramics Co. v. UCBR, 546 Pa. 504, 686 A.2d 821 (1996).

For instance, in Pittsburgh Pipe and Coupling Company v. UCBR, 401 Pa. 501, 165 A.2d 374 (1960), the Supreme Court affirmed the granting of benefits to a claimant who quit his employment to return home and take care of his wife, who had suffered a disabling spinal injury, and their children.

Similarly, in Beachem v. UCBR, 760 A.2d 68 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2000), we concluded that a claimant who quit his employment to move back in with his eleven-year-old son, who was having emotional and behavioral problems, established necessitous and compelling cause for quitting, thereby entitling him to unemployment compensation benefits.

We have also granted benefits to a claimant when he quit his employment to move back home, in part, to take care of his ailing father. Speck v. UCBR, 680 A.2d 27 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996).

However, in Green v. UCBR, 529 A.2d 597 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1987), we explained that while family obligations may constitute a necessitous and compelling reason to leave one's employment, the reasons may not be purely personal."