Wednesday, September 19, 2012

UC - separation agreement - immediacy of threat of discharge - VQ v. invol. termination

Halldin v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court – Septemver 19, 2012 – unpublished memorandum opinion

Board denial of benefits reversed where its own findings of fact did not support its legal conclusion that the claimant quit her job when continuing work was available and chance of termination was only speculative.

The Board's own findings of fact showed that claimant met with management to discuss an involuntary separation of employment.” (FOF ¶ 2 (emphasis added).) On the day after this meeting discussing Claimant’s involuntary separation, Employer presented Claimant with the Separation Agreement, in which Employer agreed to pay Claimant severance pay for a period of time in exchange for Claimant signing the Separation Agreement and leaving her employment. Finally, finding of fact 5 states that “[C]laimant signed the Separation Agreement . . . because of her belief that her employment would have been involuntarily terminated in one (1) month if she decided not to accept and sign the Separation Agreement.” (FOF ¶ 5 (emphasis added).)

Notwithstanding these findings of fact, the Board concluded that there was no indication that there would not be continuing work for Claimant had she not signed the Separation Agreement or that Employer would discharge Claimant. Based on these conclusions, the Board found Claimant ineligible for UC benefits.
However, the findings of fact do not support the Board’s conclusions of law but, rather, support the contrary conclusion that Claimant’s signing of the Separation Agreement and voluntarily leaving her employment was done in anticipation of her imminent involuntary discharge. See Wright-Swygert v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 16 A.3d 1204, 1208 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2011)

The opinion, though not reported, may be cited "for its persuasive value, but not as binding precedent." 210 Pa. Code § 67.55. Citing Judicial Opinions.