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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN SFORZA (04/10/75)

decided: April 10, 1975.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
JOHN SFORZA, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of John Sforza, No. B-122313.

COUNSEL

John Sforza, appellant, for himself.

Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 304]

Claimant-appellant was discharged from his last employment when an inspection of his accounts by his employer revealed there was a shortage of $294.47. Claimant-appellant had been warned previously about discrepancies in his accounts. His filing a claim for unemployment compensation immediately raised the issue of disqualification under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 802(e), i.e., discharge for willful misconduct.

When the employer did not appear at the fact-finding interview, the Bureau of Employment Security properly found that there was no evidence of willful misconduct and determined claimant-defendant to be eligible.

On appeal to the referee, a full hearing was held. Claimant-appellant appeared in person, but without legal counsel; the employer was represented by its manager and assistant manager. In brief, claimant-appellant testified that his shortages were due to his ineptness in keeping books and that he was crediting policyholders with payments they had not made. In the past, when these discrepancies had been detected and the claimant-appellant had been admonished to keep the books properly, the

[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 305]

    discrepancies or shortages were made good. The employer's representatives testified, in sum, that the discrepancies were so many and so great that they had to be the result of either intentional wrongdoing or such a dereliction of responsibility as to amount to willful neglect of duty. The referee, accepting the testimony of the employer, determined claimant-appellant was ineligible.

On appeal to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, a hearing was held before an appeals referee. At this hearing, claimant-appellant was represented by legal counsel. The employer was represented by the same two employees, i.e., its manager and assistant manager. Although in somewhat more detail, the testimony followed the same lines as the earlier hearing. We quote one bit of testimony given by the employer's manager which seems to summarize the position taken by the Board.

"REFEREE TO MR. COMFORT:

"Q. Mr. Comfort, if you had an insurance (sic) who might be short this amount of money, but you felt that he was a qualified individual, had you had this ...


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