Law School Case Brief
Knox v. Commonwealth, Unemployment Comp. Bd. of Review - 12 Pa. Commw. 588, 317 A.2d 60 (1974)
When an individual voluntarily terminates his work and then applies for unemployment compensation benefits, he assumes the burden of showing that his termination was with cause of a necessitous and compelling nature. Illness of a claimant may constitute good cause for leaving employment within the meaning of Section 402(b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, 43 P.S. § 802(b).
Knox was employed by the Pittsburgh Office Furniture Company as a laborer for approximately one year until the last day of his employment. The record indicates that Knox believed that his work was causing him to become nervous and subject to hypertension. Knox testified that he did not request lighter duties or different work, and that he was not advised by his doctor to leave his work because of his condition. Knox stated for the record that he became nervous when his employer scolded him for mistakes made on the job. In any event, on his last day of employment Knox returned from lunch and voluntarily "quit," telling his employer that he could not "take it anymore." The referee found that Knox voluntarily terminated his employment, and concluded that he was ineligible for compensation because he left his work without cause of necessitous and compelling nature. In his appeal of the denial of unemployment compensation benefits, Knox contended that he was denied due process of law because he was unrepresented by counsel at the hearing before the referee and because the referee failed to counsel him on how to prove his case.
Did the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review err in denying employment benefits to Knox?
The Court affirmed the order of appellee Unemployment Compensation Board of Review which affirmed the denial of benefits because there was nothing in the record which would have permitted the Court to conclude that Knox was deprived of any of his rights under the law. The Court held that the referee carried out all of his duties required by Unemployment Compensation Board of Review’s rules imposing duties to assist an unrepresented claimant and, further, that Knox was provided with a fair hearing in which all his rights were protected.
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