Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in cases of In Re: Claims of Michael Hayes, No. B-135458; Marguerite Cackley, No. B-137747; and Deby Doloff, No. B-137681.
Germaine Ingram, for appellants, Cackley and Doloff.
John J. Murphy, Jr., for appellant, Hayes.
Bernadette A. Duncan, Assistant Attorney General, with her Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.
These are petitions for review filed by Michael D. Hayes, Marguerite Cackley, and Deby Doloff (Claimants), from the denial of their individual applications for unemployment compensation benefits. The Bureau of Employment Security denied benefits pursuant to Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(e). Upon appeal and after
separate hearings, separate referees affirmed the decision of the local Bureau and disallowed the claim for benefits. Thereafter, the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), in separate decisions, disallowed the further appeal of Hayes concluding that the determination made by the referee was proper, and affirmed the referees' decisions in the appeals of Cackley and Doloff. These appeals followed. President Judge Bowman, by Order dated January 20, 1977, consolidated the appeals for purposes of argument. This opinion is being rendered in support of our decision in all three appeals.
Claimants, professional child care workers, were employed at Carson Valley School (Employer), a residential facility for children, most of whom are classified as "deprived-neglected." Claimants were assigned to "Orchard Cottage," one of the living units for the children at the school. In September, 1975, the school administrators implemented a new work schedule which was applied uniformly to all the cottages at the facility. Prior to this time, it had been the practice to allow the child care workers in each cottage to devise and execute their own work schedules. Claimants, and several other workers in the "Orchard Cottage," were dissatisfied with the Employer's new work schedule. They nevertheless complied with this schedule for approximately four weeks while they initiated discussions with the Employer concerning revision of the schedule. Following these discussions, during which the Employer refused to revise the schedule, Claimants implemented their own work schedule. When they reported to work on this revised schedule, the Employer informed Claimants that they must either comply with the administratively approved schedule or they would be discharged. When Claimants refused to work pursuant to the Employer's schedule, they were terminated.
Whether or not the actions of an employe constitute wilful misconduct so as to render him ineligible for unemployment compensation following discharge from employment is a question of law subject to our judicial review. Romanovich v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 32 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 501, 379 A.2d 1065 (1977). We are faced with the determination, therefore, of whether Claimants' noncompliance with the Employer's work schedule amounted to wilful misconduct.
Claimants argue that their actions were not wilful misconduct but were reasonable under the circumstances, citing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of Frumento v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 466 Pa. 81, 351 A.2d 631 (1976). The Court in Frumento held that in deciding whether an employe's refusal to comply with the directive of his employer represents a disregard of the standards of behavior which the employer has a right to expect of ...