Allen v. Core Target City Youth Program, 116

Citation338 A.2d 237,275 Md. 69
Decision Date29 May 1975
Docket NumberNo. 116,116
CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland

Dennis W. Carroll, Baltimore (Dennis M. Sweeney, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellant.

Diana G. Motz, Asst. Atty. Gen. (Francis B. Burch, Atty. Gen. and Joel J. Rabin, Asst. Atty. Gen., Baltimore, on the brief), for appellees.



The claim of the appellant, Claudine Allen, for unemployment compensation benefits comes before this Court after three adverse administrative determinations and the affirmance of those proceedings in her unsuccessful appeal to the Superior Court of Baltimore City.

The appellee, CORE Target City Youth Program, operates a federally funded vocational program designed to train people for 'jobs in the business world,' offering courses in clerical skills, offset printing and building maintenance and repair.

In July 1971 the appellant, who had earned 96 credits as an English major toward her collegiate degree, was employed at an annual salary of $9,000 by the appellees as an instructor 'in clerical skills,' teaching English, business mathematics, office machines, office practices and filing. Between March and May 1972 she served as a coordinator to review curriculum and develop course outlines in preparation for a proposal to be submitted by CORE to the federal government for future funding. She resumed her status as a clerical skills instructor in May for the ensuing teaching cycle.

Learning that the instructor in mathematics, English and black history was leaving the program she initiated a request, on October 16, 1972, to be transferred to the printing unit. Although her request was initially denied, assurances by her that she could master the job persuaded the program authorities to grant her the transfer and she became an instructor in that unit. Although her salary remained the same, she was placed on a 'part-time schedule,' working from 1 p. m. to 5 p. m. in that department as a supportive education instructor.

Upon the grant of the transfer the supervisor in the printing department, Arnold Allen, informed the appellant that she would be required to research certain subjects relating to printing-specifically: cost estimation, printing salesmanship, printing management, printer's English and printer's math-and to develop lesson plans for teaching these subjects. Although Allen supplied her with no source material or bibliography, she agreed, using the general outline provided by him, to research these subjects and to prepare lesson plans to instruct in them in the teaching cycle beginning January 1973.

Recognizing that the appellant possessed no knowledge of the 'technical aspects' of these subjects the supervisor apprised her that the subjects, as set forth in the outline, 'dealt with basics-generalities;' that he did not consider it either feasible or practical to expect her to go into depth, particularly on the subject of cost estimation, but rather expected her to be able to simply present to the students an 'idea of what went into cost estimation and how to develop the cost of a (printing) job.'

At the commencement of her efforts to prepare herself for her new duties she consulted with instructors in photolithography, printing and graphics at CORE without being able to obtain any assistance from them. She visited the library, phoned people employed in the printing industry and discussed the situation with a professor of vocational education at Morgan College, who reportedly told her that one needed years of experience in the printing field to be able to teach such subjects. Finding herself unable to develop even outlines of the courses because she found the information obtained from the library too technical to be understood by her, she approached her supervisor with her predicament in mid-November and he ordered for her a textbook in 'cost estimation.' Although the appellant read it twice she professed that she 'could not understand' the text material.

Despite the preparatory period which commenced in October, when her supervisor, in early January, on the threshold of the beginning of the course, inquired concerning her preparation for the teaching of these subjects she told him that she did not have adequate materials for teaching the course, that the texts she had were too technical for her comprehension and that she judged herself as not possessing an adequate expertise. Although Allen attempted to reassure her that she was not expected to teach the technical aspects of the assigned subjects-since neither the element of time nor the educational level of the students would permit such discussion-she was adamant in her position of her inability to prepare herself, complaining that the course material was so technical one needed years of experience to be able to teach it, which would justify a higher salary, and that if she taught the course 'she wanted more money.' Allen's only retort at this confrontation was that 'the course had to be taught,' and he suggested a meeting with the project director and project coordinator in connection with the position maintained by the appellant. When such a meeting came to pass on January 18th the appellant restated her inability to teach the subjects and declared that she would be unable to do any further research in connection with the work because she would be enrolled in the February semester at Morgan College.

On January 24th the appellant's academic tenure at CORE's school was terminated. By letter which chronologically reviewed the events and which pointed out that she had been assigned her new duties upon her representation that she was capable of giving such instructions in accordance with the curriculum outline, the school found that she had exhibited an 'apparent unwillingness to make a minimum effort in attempting to teach the course,' which left 'no alternative but to terminate (her services).' A replacement instructor was found who, on short notice, assumed her role and proved able to sufficiently research and teach those printing course subjects.

When the appellant filed a claim under the provisions of Maryland Code (1957), 1969 Repl.Vol.) Art. 95A, § 7, for unemployment insurance benefits her claim was denied by the claims examiner of the Employment Security Administration who found that she had 'voluntarily quit her job without good cause,' within the meaning of Art. 95A, § 6(a), and imposed a maximum penalty resulting in a bar to the appellant of the receipt of such benefits. Aggrieved at this threshold administrative decision the appellant, pursuant to § 7(e), appealed the denial of benefits to an appeals referee. After an evidentiary hearing in which the appellant, the graphics instructor whom she had consulted, her supervisor and the project coordinator testified, the referee found that despite the 'employer's assurance to the claimant that she was expected to, in effect, 'give the highlights' of the subjects and not teach them in depth were to no avail, the claimant continued in her refusal to teach the subjects.' In sustaining the determination of the claims examiner, the referee found that the appellant 'voluntarily left her employment, without good cause, within the meaning of Section 6(a) of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law, when she followed her own evaluation of the job situation, rather than attempting to comply with the employer's requirements.'

Next the appellant invoked the provisions of Art. 95A, § 7 (f), and requested a review before the Board of Appeals of the Employment Security Administration where, following a de novo hearing, the Board adopted the referee's findings of fact and affirmed the decision denying her benefits. Aggrieved at her failure to obtain administrative relief the appellant, pursuant to Art. 95A, § 7(h), appealed the Board's decision to the Superior Court of Baltimore City where Judge Harry A. Cole, upon the record, memoranda and argument of counsel, affirmed the decision. Judge Cole, finding from the record that she was 'directed to prepare herself so that she could impart certain information to the students whom she was going to teach (and) was not expected to give a technical dissertation . . . but to develop broad guidelines and present this information as best she could,' concluded 'that by the pattern of her actions, in the light of the request made of her, that she, without good cause, refused to work, and by her own actions provoked her discharge and voluntarily quit without good cause.' From Judge Cole's affirmance of the decision of the Board of Appeals the appellant seasonably appealed to this Court.

The scope of judicial review is fixed by the provisions of Art. 95A, § 7(h), which states, inter alia, that: 'In any judicial proceeding under this section, the findings of the Board of Appeals as to the facts, if supported by evidence and in the absence of fraud, shall be conclusive, and the jurisdiction of said court shall be confined to questions of law.' This test has been consistently applied in our decisions. See Rogers v. Radio Shack, 271 Md. 126, 129-30, 314 A.2d 113, 116 (1974); Watkins v. Employment Sec. Adm., 266 Md. 223, 225, 292 A.2d 653, 654 (1972); Barley v. Md. Dept. of Employment Security, 242 Md. 102, 105-06, 218 A.2d 24, 26 (1966); Bethlehem Steel Co. v. Bd of Appeals, 219 Md. 146, 150, 148 A.2d 403, 406 (1959); Employment Security Bd. v. LeCates, 218 Md. 202, 207, 145 A.2d 840, 843 (1958); Mitchell, Inc. v. Md. Employment Security Bd., 209 Md. 237, 240, 121 A.2d 198, 199 (1956). Thus, in the absence of an allegation of fraud-not present here-the findings of fact of the Board's referee if supported by evidence, and adopted and affirmed by the Board, were conclusive upon the Superior Court of Baltimore City and are binding upon us. Watkins v. Employment Sec. Adm., supra, at 225.

The appellant does...

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  • Department of Economic and Employment Development v. Taylor, 794
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 1 Septiembre 1995
    ...the Board asserts that the Court of Appeals "recognized" the doctrine of constructive voluntary leaving in Allen v. Core Target City Youth Program, 275 Md. 69, 338 A.2d 237 (1975). In that case, the Court construed former Art. 95A, § 6(a), the predecessor to L.E. § 8-1001(a)(1). 6 The Board......
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    ...solely to questions of law. Code (1957, 1969 Repl.Vol., 1976 Cum.Supp.), Art. 95A, § 7(h); see, e.g., Allen v. CORE Target City Y. Prog., 275 Md. 69, 74, 338 A.2d 237, 241 (1975) (citing cases). In the present case, the Board of Appeals made five "findings of A. That the collective bargaini......
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