Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Ronald Bacon, No. B-123571.
Harry Lore, with him Cohen and Lore, for appellant.
Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt. Judges Kramer and Rogers did not participate. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 25 Pa. Commw. Page 584]
This is an appeal from a decision and order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) denying benefits to Ronald Bacon (claimant), an electric welder who was discharged by his employer, Westinghouse Electric Corporation (Westinghouse) at Lester, Pennsylvania, in February 1974.
The claimant last worked on Friday, February 1, 1974. The following Monday he became sick with acute abdominal pain and reported to his family physician for treatment. His mother then advised Westinghouse that her son would be out of work for a couple of days due to the sickness. The claimant received continued treatments from his physician on February 9, 11, 15 and 18, 1974 and his physician indicated that he was physically able to return to work on February 20, 1974.
Between Monday, February 4, and Wednesday, February 20, the claimant had contacted his employer only once, on February 11, 1974, and then only to request accident and sickness insurance forms, not expressly indicating at that time that his continued
[ 25 Pa. Commw. Page 585]
absence from work was as a result of his continuing sickness. Meanwhile, Westinghouse had apparently been expecting the claimant to return to work on February 6, and, when he failed to report that day, sent a company representative to visit his home. The visit was made on February 14, 1974, but no one was found at home. The next day Westinghouse sent a telegram informing the claimant that he was released from employment with the company "due to your absence for more than five days without satisfactory reason." The claimant asserts that he did not receive this telegram, and on February 20, 1974 he returned to work and was then informed of his release. He subsequently applied for benefits pursuant to the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn1 (Act), but benefits were finally denied as a result of the Board's determination that this claimant's unemployment resulted from his discharge from work for willful misconduct. Section 402(e) of the Act, 43 P.S. § 802(e), of course, bars benefits under such circumstances.
Although willful misconduct has not been defined by the legislature, we have defined it to mean:
[ 25 Pa. Commw. Page 586]
"an act of wanton or willful disregard of the employer's interest, a deliberate violation of the employer's rules, a disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee, or negligence in such degree or recurrence as to manifest culpability, wrongful intent, or evil design, or show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer's interest or of the employee's duties and obligations to the employer." MacFarlane v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 550, 552, 317 A.2d 324, 325-326 (1974) (Emphasis in ...