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DENNIS BRAXTON v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/25/79)

decided: April 25, 1979.

DENNIS BRAXTON, 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 Dennis Braxton, No. B-149292.

COUNSEL

Jeffery W. Whitt, for petitioner.

John Kupchinsky, Assistant Attorney General, with him Susan Shinkman, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 267]

Dennis Braxton (claimant) appeals the denial of unemployment compensation benefits by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) on the ground of willful misconduct, pursuant to Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 802(e). We affirm.

Claimant was employed as a welder by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company (Company). He was discharged in accordance with the labor-management agreement after receiving three pink slips regarding disciplinary action.*fn1 The third slip was issued

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 268]

    because claimant had accumulated eight unexcused absences for the first quarter of the year. This resulted in part from the company's rejection of claimant's medical certificate submitted upon returning to work after a two-day absence. Company policy allowed six unexcused absences each quarter. The medical certificate was rejected because it contained no diagnosis of claimant's illness, as required by company policy. Information regarding the required contents of a medical certificate was displayed on all union bulletin boards in the shipyard. Without a proper medical certificate, an absence due to illness could not be excused under company rules. There is no evidence in the record that claimant was unfamiliar with these requirements. Claimant's other two pink slips were for excessive unexcused absences and for failure to report to an assignment.

Claimant challenges the Board's conclusion that his absence and subsequent failure to submit a medical certificate containing the required information to excuse the absence constituted willful misconduct.

This Court has often held that a failure to report an absence caused by illness in the manner prescribed by established company policy is willful misconduct. See, e.g., Gallagher v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 32 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 160, 378 A.2d 502 (1977).

Claimant argues that his medical certificate was deficient only because of a technical omission of the diagnosis, an omission made by the physician and not claimant himself, and that there was no conscious or deliberate wrongdoing on his part such as would constitute willful misconduct.

The company policy, however, was clear, had been an established procedure for about ten years, and had been made known to all employees. Claimant does not ...


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