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DELLA BICKLING v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/11/75)

decided: March 11, 1975.

DELLA BICKLING, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Della Bickling, No. B-121488.

COUNSEL

Dianne Upson, for appellant.

Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 620]

This is an appeal from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), dated April 25, 1974, which affirmed a referee's denial of benefits of Della Bickling (Bickling).

Bickling was employed by Clifford's Nursing Home (Clifford) from May 1, 1966, until January 21, 1974, the date of her discharge. In the course of her employment with Clifford, Bickling served as a "housemother" to several retarded girls who lived with her in a cottage at the Clifford establishment. The record reveals that Bickling was generally responsible for maintaining the living quarters, personal hygiene, and overall care of the

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 621]

    girls in her charge. There were no published rules to provide Bickling with direction as to her duties, and, apparently, any specific instructions she received were in the form of ad hoc oral communications.

The referee and the Board found as facts that Bickling had (1) refused to give the girls medicines; (2) failed to properly set the thermostat in the cottage; (3) failed to keep the doors and windows unlocked; and (4) failed to notify her superiors when the cottage's heating unit malfunctioned. Both parties agree that the first three items listed above occurred some months prior to Bickling's discharge, and that the circumstances surrounding the heating unit's failure were the immediate cause of her discharge.

Benefits were denied on the basis of section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 802(e), which provides, in relevant part, that an employee 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 ...


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