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HAHN MACHINERY CORPORATION v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/20/78)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: December 20, 1978.

HAHN MACHINERY CORPORATION, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT

Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Joseph Williams, No. B-129106-B.

COUNSEL

John F. McDevitt, Jr., with him O'Brien and O'Brien Associates, for petitioner.

Michael Klein, Assistant Attorney General, with him William J. Kennedy, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 366]

Hahn Corporation (employer) appeals from a revised decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) awarding benefits and vacating the Board's original decision*fn1 under which compensation was denied by reason of Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended (Law), 43 P.S. ยง 802(e), which bars benefits when unemployment is due to discharge for "willful misconduct."

Employer contends that the revised decision to award compensation is not based on substantial evidence and that the Board capriciously disregarded competent evidence offered by the employer, and relied on incompetent hearsay evidence introduced by the employee in reaching its decision to award compensation.*fn2

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 367]

Our duty is to examine the testimony in the light most favorable to the party in whose favor the Board has found -- giving the benefit of all inferences that can logically and reasonably be drawn from the testimony -- in order to determine if substantial evidence for the Board's conclusion exists. Taylor v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 479 Pa. 351, 378 A.2d 829 (1977).

The Board's original decision had been based on the referee's finding that claimant had "loud and boisterous" words with his employer after being reprimanded and that such conduct constituted willful misconduct that disqualified claimant from securing benefits.

This court has developed guidelines for use in the determination of whether conduct amounts to willful misconduct which precludes benefits under Section 402(e).

In Harbutz v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 10 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 235, 237, 309 A.2d 840, 841 (1973), we stated the following definition of willful conduct:

'". . . 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, . . . 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."'

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 368]

It is the Board's function to evaluate the competence and credibility of the testimony. A reading of the entire record indicates that the Board's findings are founded on substantial evidence.

We therefore affirm the decision of the Board awarding claimant benefits.

Order

And Now, this 20th day of December, 1978, the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review awarding claimant benefits is affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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