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ALLIED SERVICES FOR HANDICAPPED v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/14/77)

decided: November 14, 1977.

ALLIED SERVICES FOR THE HANDICAPPED, INC., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW AND JEROME KARWASKI, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Jerome Karwaski, No. B-133700.

COUNSEL

William J. Oliver, with him Oliver, Price & Rhodes, for petitioner.

Robert A. Mazzoni, with him Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, for respondents.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 364]

Allied Services for the Handicapped, Inc. (Allied) has appealed from a determination by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) that Jerome Karwaski (claimant) was not guilty of willful misconduct within the meaning of Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act).*fn1 We affirm the Board's order granting benefits to the claimant.

Allied maintains an operation for the care and treatment of handicapped individuals. The claimant was employed by Allied as a "resident assistant," and his duties included the distribution and administration of medication to patients in that portion of Allied's facilities known as Lynette Village Boys Cottage. In addition, the claimant was occasionally required to

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 365]

    transport residents of the cottage to and from their places of employment.

Medication was scheduled to be administered to some of the residents of the cottage at 6:30 p.m. on March 10, 1976. On that day, the claimant and one other resident assistant were on duty from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. the claimant left the cottage to drive several of the residents to various locations; his fellow employee remained on duty at the cottage. The claimant did not return until about 6:45 p.m., after the appointed time for the distribution of the medication. Upon his return, he checked the log book of the cottage. Finding a notation that all medication had been timely administered by his fellow employee, he went about his other duties. When it was subsequently discovered that one patient had not received his medication, the claimant was discharged.

Claimant's application for unemployment benefits was denied by the Bureau of Employment Security. Claimant appealed, and a referee, after holding a hearing and finding the facts to be as stated above, affirmed the Bureau's decision, on the ground that the claimant was discharged for willful misconduct. On appeal, the Board reversed, adopting the referee's findings of fact and making an additional finding that the responsibility for distributing the medication had been shared by the two resident assistants on duty. The Board concluded that the claimant acted reasonably in relying upon the log book and upon the assumption that his fellow employee had properly dispensed the medication.

Under Section 402(e) of the Act, a claimant is ineligible for unemployment benefits if he has been discharged from work for willful misconduct. The latter term has been judicially defined as the wanton or willful disregard of the employer's ...


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