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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RONALD P. GROSSMAN (01/08/76)

decided: January 8, 1976.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RONALD P. GROSSMAN, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Ronald P. Grossman, No. B-124738.

COUNSEL

S. Sanford Kantz, with him Levine & Kantz, for appellant.

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

Robert O. Lampl, for amicus curiae, American Civil Liberties Union.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 551]

Ronald P. Grossman (claimant) appeals to this Court from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), which denied him unemployment compensation benefits because it found that he had been suspended from his employment with the Pennsylvania State Police as a result of willful misconduct connected with his work.*fn1

The law concerning the unemployment compensation concept of willful misconduct is now clearly settled in this Commonwealth. See Chambers v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 13 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 317, 318 A.2d 422 (1974); Loder v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 6 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 484, 296 A.2d 297 (1972). For the limited purposes of our discussion here, we merely note that the concept places upon an employer the burden of proving that the discharged employee has deliberately violated the employer's rules or has disregarded the standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee. Chambers, supra.

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 552]

The Board is the trier of the facts presented by the parties, and it is, therefore, the Board's responsibility to weigh the evidence and determine the factual findings which can be made from the evidence presented. Since we will not change or alter these determinations, except in cases where the Board has manifestly abused its discretion, our scope of review is limited to questions of law and to a determination of whether the findings of fact can be supported by the evidence. See, e.g., Houp v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 20 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 111, 340 A.2d 588 (1975); Stiles v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 19 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 38, 340 A.2d 594 (1975).

In this case the alleged conduct of the claimant that led to his suspension grew out of his actions on the night of April 22, 1974 and the morning of April 23, 1974. As a result of certain activities on these dates and at other times subsequent thereto, claimant was charged with six violations of the Code of Conduct of the Pennsylvania State Police and was suspended from his work for 35 days.

In essence, claimant was charged with (1) unbecoming conduct, (2) unauthorized use of firearms, (3) unauthorized use of an official vehicle, (4) excessive off-duty use of alcohol, (5) failure to cooperate with the investigation of his conduct, and (6) failure to report properly when ill.*fn2

Claimant has raised in his brief, and the American Civil Liberties Union through an amicus brief has spoken to, some rather profound constitutional questions concerning the relationship of his suspension to the Unemployment Compensation Law. Claimant's main contention is that he was suspended because of his ...


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