Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Mary L. Reinhart, No. B-164957.
Richard L. Levine, with him, John M. Grubor, of Grubor, McAneny & Wolken, for petitioner.
David R. Confer, Assistant Attorney General, with him, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge DiSalle.
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 103]
The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review denied Mary L. Reinhart unemployment compensation benefits pursuant to Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law which provides in part that an employee shall be ineligible for compensation for any week:
(e) In which his unemployment is due to his discharge or temporary suspension from work for willful misconduct connected with his work.*fn1
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 104]
The record establishes that Reinhart was last employed by the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in a management capacity; that on February 17, 1978, a strike was initiated by union employees at the facility; and that on February 27, 1978, claimant refused to cross the picket line and continue to report to work for the duration of the labor dispute due to alleged fear for her safety. Reinhart was indefinitely suspended on February 27, 1978, for violation of the employer's policies, insubordination and refusal to report to work as directed.
Reinhart raises two issues in her appeal to this Court:
First, that the findings of the Board are insufficient as a matter of law to permit denial of benefits under Section 402(e).
Willful misconduct has been defined as the wanton and willful disregard of the employer's interests, deliberate violation of employer's rules, or the disregard of standards of behavior which an employer has a right to expect of an employee. Conrad v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 37 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 255, 389 A.2d 725 (1978); Frick v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 31 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 198, 375 A.2d 879 (1977). Refusal to report to work as scheduled, particularly after having been directed to do so by the employer, may without more, constitute willful misconduct. Bracy v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 34 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 173, 382 A.2d 1295 (1978). However, where the failure to report to work is due to a labor dispute, the issue is whether ...