Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Bradford H. Bullock, No. B-142236.
John O'Rourke, with him John C. Bonner, and McTighe, Mullaney, Weiss, Bonner, Stewart & O'Neill, for petitioner.
Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, with him Gerald Gornish, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, DiSalle and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 529]
This appeal, from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review holding petitioner-claimant ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits due to a discharge for willful misconduct,*fn1 raises the recurring issue of whether the intentional violation of an employer's direct order or policy is willful misconduct under Frumento v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 466 Pa. 81, 351 A.2d 631 (1976) and its progeny.
Frumento held that the employee's reason for noncompliance with an employer's rule must be balanced against the reasonableness of the rule; therefore, it is not willful misconduct if the employee refuses to comply with a rule which is unreasonable as applied to him under circumstances in a given case.
In Holomshek v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Judge Wilkinson clarified the application of that standard to a given set of facts:
[T]he burden is on the employer to show willful misconduct. . . . [I]n violation of rules cases, this means that the burden is on the employer to
[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 530]
prove the rule and the fact of its violation. However, if the employee comes forward under the doctrine of Frumento, supra, and attempts to justify the violation, the employee then has the burden of establishing good cause.
39 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 503, 505, 395 A.2d 708, 709 (1979).
Claimant here was employed by Diamond International Corporation as a district manager for the sale of egg cartons. To carry out his duties, he was entitled to the use of a company-owned car. Under company procedures he periodically arranged for the company to purchase a new car for him by personally soliciting bids from auto dealerships, including trade-in allowance for the car he was currently using. The company would then accept one of the bids submitted. The employer here had a policy which specifically limited the accessories allowed on a company car. In ...