Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Steve Iacano, No. B-126948.
Joseph N. Bifano, for appellant.
Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.
In Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Iacano, 30 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 51, 357 A.2d 239 (1976), we held that, where the employer introduces no evidence of willful misconduct and a claimant offers an explanation for his actions which could constitute good cause, the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) cannot, as a matter of law, find that the claimant should be denied benefits because of willful misconduct.
We based our decision on a record that revealed the failure of the employer to meet his burden of proving willful misconduct*fn1 and the good-cause rationale expounded by our Supreme Court in Frumento v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 466 Pa. 81, 351 A.2d 631 (1976).
The Board filed a petition for reargument in which it asserted that this Court's "interpretation of Frumento may have been correct, yet it may have been too sweeping, too broad" and requested "the opportunity of arguing that Frumento must be strictly interpreted."
We granted reargument, which was held before the Court en Banc. In addition, we have once more carefully reviewed the entire record, and we continue to be satisfied that the employer in this case failed to meet his burden of proving willful misconduct on the part of the claimant. Accordingly, our order reversing the Board and remanding the record to enable the awarding of benefits to the claimant will not be set aside.
The very peculiar facts and circumstances of the instant case*fn2 justify our reliance on the good-cause concept utilized in Frumento v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, supra. However, we do recognize the importance of being mindful that willful misconduct represents a disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has a right to expect of an employe. As our Supreme Court in Frumento said:
Thus, not only must we look to the employee's reason for noncompliance we must also evaluate the reasonableness of the request in light of all of the circumstances. To accommodate this end the Superior Court developed a concept of good cause. . . . The rationale upon which this concept of good cause was developed was that where the action of the employee is justifiable or reasonable under the ...