Ohio Bureau of Employment Services v. Hodory

PETITIONER:Ohio Bureau of Employment Services
LOCATION:Village of Arlington Heights

DOCKET NO.: 75-1707
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)

CITATION: 431 US 471 (1977)
ARGUED: Feb 28, 1977
DECIDED: May 31, 1977

Richard A. Szilagyi – for appellants
Thomas Patrick Lordeon – for appellee
T. Patrick Lordeon

Facts of the case


Media for Ohio Bureau of Employment Services v. Hodory

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – February 28, 1977 in Ohio Bureau of Employment Services v. Hodory

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – May 31, 1977 in Ohio Bureau of Employment Services v. Hodory

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in 75-1707, Ohio Bureau of Employment against Hodory will be announced by Mr. Justice Blackmun.

Harry A. Blackmun:

The first case comes to us on appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The appellee, Hodory, was an employee of the United States Steel Corporation at its Youngstown plant.

He was laid off when that plant was shut down due to a reduction in the fuel supply resulting from a nationwide strike of US Steels miners at its company owned coal mines, Hodory there upon applied to the Ohio Bureau for unemployment benefits under the state statutes.

His claim was disallowed under a provision that disqualifies a worker from such benefits if his unemployment is due a labor dispute other than a lockout at any factory owned or operated by the employer.

Hodory then filed a class action in the District Court for declaratory and injunctive relief.

He asserted that the state statute conflicted with certain provisions of the federal Social Security Act and that is applied, it was irrational and had no valid public purpose, all this in violation of the do process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The District Court agreed within.

It refused to abstain and held that the statute violated these constitutional clauses.

We reversed.

We do hold that abstention is not required.

The State itself has submitted the constitutional issue for this Court and principles of equity and comity therefore, do not require that we refuse Ohio the immediate adjudication it seeks, neither as abstention indicated in a hope that the statute might be construed by the State Courts so as to avoid or ameliorate a constitutional issue.

We further hold that the Ohio statute is not in conflict with or preempted by the Social Security Act or the Federal Unemployment Tax Act does the appellees urge.

Finally, we hold that the statute has a rational relation to a legitimate state interest and is constitutional.

We view its consequences not only for the recipient of the beneficiaries or the benefits but also for the contributors to the compensation fund and so do in, we conclude that the need for limitation of a liability of the fund is a legitimate state interest.

Mr. Justice Rehnquist took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Blackmun.