DLLR's Unemployment Insurance Appeals

 

Decision Number 1025-BH-82 - Voluntary Quit - Section 8-1001 - Maryland Unemployment Decisions Digest

 

BOARD OF APPEALS

DECISION

DECISION NO: 1025-BH-82
DATE: July 23, 1982
 
CLAIMANT: Elisabeth A. Rice APPEAL NO.: 25663
 
EMPLOYER: Baltimore City Board of Education
c/o Civil Service Commission
L.O. NO: 1
 
APPELLANT: Employer

Issue: Whether the Claimant's unemployment was due to leaving work voluntarily, without good cause, within the meaning of Section 6(a) of the Law; and whether the Claimant was able to work, available for work and actively seeking work within the meaning of Section 4(c) of the Law.

- NOTICE OF RIGHT OF APPEAL TO COURT -

YOU MAY FILE AN APPEAL FROM THIS DECISION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF MARYLAND. THE APPEAL MAYBE TAKEN IN PERSON OR THROUGH AN ATTORNEY IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF BALTIMORE CITY, OR THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE COUNTY IN MARYLAND IN WHICH YOU RESIDE.

THE PERIOD FOR FILING AN APPEAL EXPIRES AT MIDNIGHT August 22, 1982.

APPEARANCES

For the Claimant:
Elisabeth A. Rice - Claimant
Mr. Gary Rice, Husband - Witness
For the Employer:
Charles Spinner Pers. Tech. IV
Raymond Banks, Sr.Staff Specialist

EVIDENCE CONSIDERED

The Board of Appeals has considered all of the evidence presented, including the testimony offered at the hearings. The Board has also considered all of the documentary evidence introduced in this case, as well as Employment Security Administration's documents in the appeal file.

FINDINGS OF FACT

The Claimant was employed as a teacher of the Baltimore City Department of Education from September of 1974 until October 7, 1981. She resigned her employment on the latter date.

The Claimant suffered from a back problem. She missed much time due to this problem, and she was granted an extended, paid sick leave for the period between March 28, 1981 and June 30, 1981.

This back problem caused the Claimant to leave the room on occasion and caused her other difficulty in teaching. This problem also caused her to have difficulty with sustained standing. Although the formal job requirements did not require sustained standing, the Claimant was criticized for not standing and the job did, as a matter of fact, require almost constant standing.

The Claimant also received a poor evaluation because of a conflict she had with her principal. She was criticized by her principal for many things, including for allowing students in her English class to write poems. The main reason that the Claimant resigned, however, was because of her back problems. Her duties as a teacher did not cause these back problems, but the back problems did make it more difficult for her to continue teaching.

The Claimant consulted a physician at one point. This physician diagnosed the problem as muscle spasms. The rest of the Claimant's treatment for an extended period of time was provided by Chriss J. Sigafoose, a chiropractor from Thomasville, Pennsylvania. The Claimant's evidence concerning her back problem comes completely from Dr. Sigafoose.

The Baltimore City School System approved the Claimant's sick leave on the basis of Dr. Sigafoose's report. The Claimant received Blue Cross/Blue Shield payments to cover Dr. Sigafoose's service as a chiropractor.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The Claimant obviously voluntarily quit her job. Since her injury was not caused by her work, nor was there anything unusual about her work requirement which conflicted with her medical condition, the cause for her quitting was not directly attributable to her work within the meaning of Section 6(a) of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law. Even if, however, the cause of her voluntarily quitting is not directly attributable to her Employer or the conditions of employment, she may still be eligible for a reduced penalty if she resigned for compelling and necessitous reasons which gave her no reasonable alternative other than to leave the employment. In this regard, however, the statute specifically provides that, where the necessitous and compelling circumstance relate to the health of a claimant, that claimant's health must be documented by "a written statement or other documentary evidence of that health problem from a physician or a hospital."

The Board would normally consider that the words "physician or hospital" are to be construed liberally to cover all health care professionals. In the case of a chiropractor, however, the Board is bound by the decision of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in the case of Beverungen v Briele, 25 Md. App. 233, 333 A.2nd 664 (1975), in which Court-of Special Appeals specifically held that a chiropractor is not a physician. The Board, therefore, concludes that the Claimant did not provide the type of evidence required by Section 6(a) of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law when she provided only documentation from a chiropractor concerning her back ailment.

The Board has carefully considered what was a legislative intent in adding the requirement of documentary evidence from a physician or hospital to Section 6(a) of the Law. In making this change, the legislature evidently intended for documentary evidence of a certain reliability to be required in every case in which a person left his or her job for health reasons. The degree of reliability required, is, of course, up to the legislature. Since the legislature used the word "physician" and since the Court of Special Appeals had previously specifically stated that a chiropractor is not a physician, the Board of Appeals finds that the legislature intended for evidence from a chiropractor to be considered as not sufficiently reliable in a case arising out of Section 6(a) of the Law.

The Board is not ruling that other recognized health professionals connected with physicians or hospitals cannot provide evidence sufficient to meet Section 6(a) of the Law. In fact, it appears that, under a reasonable interpretation of the Law, those persons in the recognized health occupations working directly with physicians or hospitals would be deemed by the legislature to be able to provide sufficiently reliable documentary evidence under Section 6(a). The decision in this case is prompted only by the quite specific ruling of the Court of Special Appeals.

Since the Claimant did not provide evidence from a physician or hospital within the meaning of Section 6(a) of the Law it will be held that she voluntarily quit her job, without good cause, and that there are no serious, valid circumstances which might mitigate the penalty in her case.

DECISION

The Claimant voluntarily quit her job, without good cause, within the meaning of Section 6(a) of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law. She is disqualified from the week beginning October 4, 1981 and until she becomes re-employed, earns ten times her weekly benefit amount ($1,400.00) and thereafter becomes unemployed through no fault of her own.

The decision of the Appeals Referee is modified. No evidence was presented concerning Section 4(c) of the Law. The decision under Section 4(c) therefore will be affirmed.

Thomas W. Keech, Chairman
Hazel A. Warnick, Associate Member

K:W
zvs

DATE OF HEARING: May 11, 1982
COPIES MAILED TO:
CLAIMANT
EMPLOYER
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE - BALTIMORE

 

 

LOWER APPEALS DECISION

DECISION

DECISION DATE: Feb. 2, 1982  
 
CLAIMANT: Elisabeth A. Rice APPEAL NO.: 25663 EP
 
EMPLOYER: Baltimore City Board of Education L. O. NO.: 1
 
APPELLANT: Employee

Issue: Whether the claimant was separated from employment for a non-disqualifying reason within the meaning of Section 6(a) & 4(c) of the Law.

- NOTICE OF RIGHT OF FURTHER APPEAL -

ANY INTERESTED PARTY TO THIS DECISION MAY REQUEST A FURTHER APPEAL AND SUCH APPEAL MAY BE FILED IN ANY EMPLOYMENT SECURITY OFFICE, OR WITH THE APPEALS DIVISION, ROOM 515, 1100 NORTH EUTAW STREET, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND 21201, EITHER IN PERSON OR BY MAIL.

THE PERIOD FOR FILING A FURTHER APPEAL EXPIRES AT MIDNIGHT ON Feb. 17, 1982.

APPEARANCES

For the Claimant:
Present, Gary Rice, witness
claimant's husband
For the Employer:
Represented by Charlie Spinner, Personnel Technician IV

FINDINGS OF FACT

The claimant filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits effective November 8, 1981. She is classified by the Employment Service as a fund raiser and as and administrative assistance. The claimant was employed by the Baltimore City Board of Education from September 1974 to September 16, 1981 as a teacher. The claimant earned $687.24 bi-weekly.

The claimant taught at the Northern Parkway Junior High School located 2500 East Northern Parkway. She worked from 9:15 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The claimant voluntarily quit her employment at the Baltimore City Board of Education in October 1981 because her position as a teacher was having an adverse effect upon her back. The claimant requested and was granted a leave of absence from her employment, Baltimore City Department of Education from March 23, 1981 to June 30, 1981. The claimant in the Spring semester 981; January 1981 was given five new classes. Getting acquainted to the new students in the classes was having an adverse effect upon the claimant's back; the claimant would notice sharp pains in her back. The claimant voluntarily quit her employment due to her back disorder which is called the fifth lumbar subluxation, a personality conflict with the principal at the school where she worked, and a fear that the students who she supervised who get injured and her inability to properly tend to those students.

The claimant submitted a statement of resignation to her employer on October 7, 1981 reads as follows:

The claimant indicated that she is writing a letter of resignation at the advise of her doctor to submit her resignation. The claimant is suffering from a physical disorder called the fifth lumbar subluxation. Because of this disorder, I cannot deal with the physical expectations, pressures, intentions placed on me at Northern Parkway. I must seek a job where I am only responsible for the work I do and not lives.

The claimant, when she resigned her employment did not inquire of the personnel department or the Board of Education if there are any other types of work available which would not be as stressful as the job she had at Northern Parkway Junior High. The claimant only inquired through the union to seek other available jobs.

The claimant has submitted a statement from the Sigafoose Chiropractic Life Center located in Thomasville, Pennsylvania, dated January 18, 1982 which indicated that the claimant's condition called fifth lumbar subluxation is grately aggravated by stress and tension. In March 1981 Chris J. Sigaffoose from the Sigaffoose Chiropractic Life Center suggested to the claimant that she consider changing careers to one that was not so stressful. The statement further indicated that the claimant returned to work in September for eight days and her condition got worse; when the claimant decided to quit, Chriss J. Sigafoose Chiropractic Life Center encouraged the claimant to quit. The claimant did not resign her employment upon the advise of a physician on October 7, 1981.

Moreover, the claimant is pregnant and she has submitted a medical statement dated January 14, 1982 which indicated that the claimant is pregnant and may continue with her employment until the end of May 1982. The claimant has been making four job contacts per week.

COMMENTS

The claimant voluntarily quit her employment at the Baltimore City Board of Education effective October 7, 1981 because of a back condition, personally conflict with her principal at the school where she was at work, and the fear of students being injured and her inability to care for those students due to her back condition. The claimant has not submitted any medical statement that a doctor advised the claimant to resign her employment at the Baltimore City Department of education effective October 7, 1981.

Furthermore, the claimant is presently pregnant and there is no more information to indicate if her pregnant condition increased her back ailment or was it primarily due to her work environment working for the Baltimore City Department of Education. It will be held that the claimant's reason for leaving her employment do not constitute good cause within the meaning of Section 6(a) of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law. Therefore, the determination of the Claims Examiner under Section 6(a) of the Law will be reversed. However, there existed valid circumstances present to warrant less than the maximum penalty allowed by Law. The claimant failed to request to the Baltimore City Board of Education of a less strenuous position within the school system.

Section 4(c) of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law requires one to be able, available, and actively seeking work to be eligible for benefits. These provisions of the Law must be met simultaneously. The claimant has submitted a medical statement dated January 14, 1982 that she is under doctor's care for her condition of pregnancy. The claimant may continue with her employment until the end of May 1982. The claimant has been making four job contacts per week. It will be held that the claimant has been meeting the requirements of Section 4(c) of the Law.

DECISION

The unemployment of the claimant was due to leaving work voluntarily, without good cause, within the meaning of Section 6(a) of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law. A disqualification is imposed from the week beginning October 4, 1981 and the seven weeks immediately following.

The determination of the Claims Examiner is reversed.

The claimant has been meeting the requirements of Section 4(c) of the Law.

Marvin I. Pazornick Appeals Referee

Date of hearing: January 14, 1982
jlt
(10,914A-B--106)
Copies mailed to:
Claimant
Employer
Unemployment Insurance - Baltimore