BOARD OF APPEALS
|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
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
|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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
DATE OF HEARING: May 11, 1982
COPIES MAILED TO:
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE - BALTIMORE