Tuesday, June 09, 2015

UC - vol. quit - repeated late payment of wages


Weavertown Transp. Leasing v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court – June 8,2015 – unreported memorandum opinion

 


 

Court affirmed UCBR decision holding that claimant had good cause to quit his job, where  employer repeatedly failed to pay claimant proper wages at the time they were due.

 

Even though Employer issued supplemental checks to resolve some of the alleged payroll discrepancies and, therefore, did not technically refuse to pay Claimant, it is undisputed that Employer repeatedly failed to pay Claimant the proper amount owed to him when it was due.

 

Moreover, to hold that Claimant is ineligible for UC benefits because he would not accept being repeatedly, untimely paid the full amount for his work efforts would be contrary to this Court’s precedent and Section 3(a) of the Wage Law, which requires that “employer shall pay all wages . . . due to his employes on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer.” 43 P.S. § 260.3(a)  (emphasis added). This Court has previously stated that “[a] contrary view would permit an employer to require a worker to submit to denial of a [timely] day’s pay under pain of loss of unemployment benefits. As the scriptural admonition states, the laborer is worthy of his hire.” LaTruffe, 453 A.2d at 48 (holding that a claimant had a necessitous and compelling reason to quit his employment where the employer wrongfully refused to pay him for one day’s work).

 

The court has held that the “failure to make timely payment for services rendered creates a real and substantial pressure upon an employee to terminate employment” and “repeat occurrences [of such failures] would cause a reasonable person to terminate employment.” Shupp v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 18 A.3d 462, 465 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2011). The “underpayment of wages over a period of time [is] also sufficient cause to quit.” LaTruffe v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 453 A.2d 47, 47 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1982) (citing Frey v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 383 A.2d 1326, 1327 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1978)). A claimant will not be ineligible for UC benefits as long as the claimant “take[s] ‘common sense’ action that would have given the employer an opportunity to understand the nature of [his] objections and to take prudent steps to resolve the problem.” Unclaimed Freight Company v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 677 A.2d 377, 379 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996) (citing Tedesco Manufacturing Company, Inc. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 552 A.2d 754, 756 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1989)); Homan v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 527 A.2d 1109, 1110 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1987).

 

Pursuant to Section 3(a) of the Wage Payment and Collection Law (Wage Law),4 which is implicated whenever a claimant asserts that he quit due to an employer’s failure to properly pay wages, [e]very employer shall pay all wages . . . due to his employes on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer. Overtime wages may be considered as wages earned and payable in the next succeeding pay period. All wages . . . earned in any pay period shall be due and payable within the number of days after the expiration of said pay period as provided in a written contract of employment . . . . 43 P.S. § 260.3(a) (emphasis added); Shupp, 18 A.3d at 464. Applying Section 3(a) of the Wage Law, this Court has held that “employees are well within their rights to demand timely payment for work performed” and that “payment as agreed for services rendered is the very essence of an employment relationship, such that no employee can be compelled to work without payment.” Shupp, 18 A.3d at 464 (emphasis omitted).

 

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The opinion, though not reported, may be cited "for its persuasive value, but not as binding precedent."    210 Pa. Code 69.414.

 

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