Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in cases of In Re: Claim of William Wirfel, No. B-143870-B and Claim of Regis A. Wirfel, No. B-143871-B.
Patrick A. Gleason, with him Gleason, DiFrancesco, Shahade & Markovitz, for appellants.
Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Gerald Gornish, Acting Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 348]
In this unemployment compensation case, every compensation authority denied benefits to Regis A. Wirfel and his son, William, in separate decisions because their discharges were based on willful misconduct, Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1
We reverse the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in both cases.
In the interest of judicial economy and because both claims arise from factually similar circumstances, they were consolidated for argument.
[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 349]
First, as to Regis's appeal: Regis, after 30 1/2 years' service, was dismissed on September 14, 1976. The referee found, and the Board affirmed, that Regis refused to report for work as scheduled on Sunday night, September 12, 1976, and, when he reported for the following day shift, he was sent home. When he went to his employer's home to discuss the incident, he found the employer sleeping and Regis had words with the employer's wife. This resulted in Regis's discharge.
In an unemployment compensation case, review by this Court is limited to questions of law and, in the absence of fraud, to a determination of whether the Board's findings are supported by competent evidence. Furthermore, the question of an employee's willful misconduct is one of law and also reviewable. Gardner v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 29 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 548, 372 A.2d 38 (1977). The employer has the burden of proving that the claimant has deliberately violated its rules or has disregarded the standards of behavior which an employer has the right to expect of its employee. Short of this proof, a claimant prevails. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Dravage, 23 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 636, 353 A.2d 88 (1976).
The referee made the following pertinent finding of fact which the Board affirmed:
2. The claimant refused to work on Sunday night, September 12, ...