Barney Phillips, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
William L. Hammond, Sp. Deputy Atty. Gen., Robert E. Woodside, Atty. Gen., Roland M. Morgan, Associate Counsel, Harrisburg, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.
[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 402]
This is an unemployment compensation case. The compensation authorities disallowed the claim and the claimant has taken the present appeal.
Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law as amended May 29, 1945, P.L. 1145, 43 P.S. § 802, provides, inter alia: 'An employe shall be ineligible for compensation for any week * * * (e) In which his unemployment is due to his discharge or temporary suspension from work for willful misconduct connected with his work; * * *.' The case raises the question of whether the claimant was properly denied benefits on the ground that his employer was justified in discharging him for 'willful misconduct connected with his work'. The facts set out below are pertinent to that issue.
The claimant was, prior to January 15, 1950, employed in Pittsburgh by one Maracini as a beer salesman. On January 15, the claimant quit his job to move to Miami because of his wife's sinus condition. On March 13 he obtained regular employment as a beer salesman in the Miami district with the Schlitz Brewing Company, working under the supervision of a division sales manager, Mark Rosenberg. Claimant's duties consisted of 'opening up accounts with different companies, get advertising material ready, and such things'. He accepted employment with Schlitz with the knowledge that he would be required to travel within the state of Florida, and to this requirement he agreed.
[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 403]
The record contains three ex parte versions of the circumstances which precipitated the discharge of the claimant. On July 12, 1950, Rosenberg, claimant's superior, gave testimony at the request of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review before a referee appointed by the Employment Security Agency, Department of Labor of Georgia. The witness testified that the claimant had been asked to spend 10 days in Jacksonville to help meet an emergency created by the death of a Schlitz distributor in that city. Upon his refusal to go to Jacksonville, claimant was discharged.
Claimant, on July 19, 1950, testified before a referee appointed by the Florida Industrial Commission at the request of the Pennsylvania compensation authorities. At this hearing Levine stated, 'I was suppose to go to Jacksonville on a job. I didn't want to go. The employer said if I wouldn't go I was suppose to hand in my resignation. I would not resign so he fired me.'
The final version of the employer's order which resulted in the claimant's discharge was that given by claimant before the Board of Review in Pittsburgh on October 17, 1950. At that hearing the relevant testimony of the claimant was as follows: '* * * he (Rosenberg) said, 'You are going on the road.' I said, 'How long will I be gone?' He said, 'First you will go to Jacksonville.' * * * He said, 'You will go to Jacksonville, or go on the road, or you are fired.' I said, 'I am not going to travel.' I said, 'If it's a matter of my job, I will go.' He said, 'You are fired, and that's all there is about it.' The claimant testified ...