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SOLOMON BARNETT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/20/79)

decided: November 20, 1979.

SOLOMON BARNETT, 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 Solomon Barnett, No. B-163100.

COUNSEL

James W. Wilson, for petitioner.

Gary Marini, Assistant Attorney General, with him Edward G. Biester, Jr., Acting Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Craig

[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 361]

Claimant, in this appeal from a denial of benefits by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (board), alleges that there is no evidence or finding of fact in the record that his past criminal convictions, the extent of which he concealed from his employer, concerned matters material to the nature of his employment, and therefore that the board erred in concluding that his discharge was a result of willful misconduct under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1

In response to the question on a state civil service job-application form, claimant admitted the existence of one previous criminal conviction and explained his affirmative response on that form as "suspicion of

[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 362]

    burglary." The Southeastern Pennsylvania Institutional Area Service Unit (SPISU) later hired him as a food service worker, a civil service job. The SPISU is under the direction of the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare (DPW).

Claimant then came under consideration for promotion to a supervisory position with SPISU. During that time, the State Civil Service Commission reviewed his application and requested DPW to verify the nature and extent of his conviction record. He received the promotion, but shortly thereafter his superiors at SPISU questioned him about his convictions. At that time he claimed that the charge was "thrown out of court." A subsequent check revealed his several burglary and larceny convictions and that he had been incarcerated for a period of time.

Willful misconduct is conduct which involves a conscious disregard of the employer's interests, Harbutz v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 10 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 235, 309 A.2d 840 (1973), and a disregard of standards of behavior which an employer has a right to expect of his employee. Lower Gwynedd Township v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 44 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 646, 404 A.2d 770 (1979).

[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 363]

In cases involving an employee's concealment or falsification of personal background information, it is settled that, to be willful misconduct, such concealment or falsification must be deliberate, not the result of error or inadvertence, MacFarlane v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 550, 317 A.2d 324 (1974), and the information concealed or falsified must be material to the qualifications of the employee for the job, Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 35 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 275, 385 A.2d 1047 (1978); Unemployment Compensation Board of Page ...


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