Appeal, No. 204, Oct. T., 1959, by employer, from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B-48872-B, in re claim of Betty K. Koble. Decision reversed.
George A. D'Angelo, with him Geoffrey J. Cuniff, for appellant.
Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (gunther, J., absent).
[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 566]
The Danville Silk Company has appealed from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review. The board granted benefits to its former employe, Betty Koble, who was discharged for violation of company rules. The issue is whether the board erred in concluding that the employe was not chargeable with willful misconduct in connection with her
[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 567]
work within the meaning of section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, 43 PS § 802(e).
Claimant was employed by appellant as a crimping machine operator from May, 1956, to the date of her discharge, March 6, 1958. In the crimping machine process, the yarn is run through a heating element in a heating chamber in order to crimp it. If the thread breaks while in this process and the yarn remains for any length of time in the heating chamber, it will become overcrimped, and will possibly burn or melt and thus cause considerable damage. A crimping machine operator is employed to patrol the machine so that corrective action can be taken in the event the yarn breaks. In connection with the operation of the crimping machine appellant adopted certain regulations; No. 18 provided: "When break period occurs operator must not leave crimper until reporting to floormen, and at no time should crimper be left unattended." Claimant was aware of the company rule which required that the machine be properly patrolled, and that it should not be left unattended. On a number of occasions claimant left her machine unattended, apparently causing defective yarn. For this conduct she was warned by her supervisor. In December, 1957, claimant was suspended for her failure to follow the proper procedures in the crimping operation, but she was reinstated with a warning that similar occurrences in the future would warrant dismissal. About March 5 or 6, 1958, claimant's supervisor reported that claimant was leaving her machine unattended. He testified he had told her "quite a few times" that in the event she continued these violations she would be discharged. Just prior to the occasion of her discharge claimant was seen approximately one hundred feet away from her machine talking to another employe. This was observed by a Mr. Kramer who is a "fixer" on the machine patrolled by claimant.
[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 568]
Claimant admitted that she had been away from her machine on this occasion, but stated that she merely left to wash her hands and had stopped to talk to another employe. She knew that the machine was never to be left unattended, but that the company permitted the employes short absences to wash their hands or to take samples to the laboratory, both of which required going only twenty to thirty feet from her machine.
The bureau disallowed the claim; the referee affirmed the bureau. An appeal was taken by the employer to the board which remanded the case for additional testimony. On September 16, 1958, the board filed its decision adopting the findings of fact of the referee which were to the effect that claimant was dismissed for violation of the company rules after having been previously suspended and rehired with a warning that further violation of the rules would result in her discharge. The board concluded that claimant's discharge was due to willful misconduct within the meaning of section 402(e) of the Law. Subsequent to this decision, however, the board ordered a reargument, and on January 28, 1959, filed a decision in which it vacated the essential findings of fact in its previous decision, substituted other findings of fact, reversed its previous conclusion, and held that claimant was eligible for compensation because the reason for her discharge did not amount to willful misconduct. While it recognized the company's regulation concerning attendance at the machine, the board found that the company allowed its operators to ...