Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of James Goodson, No. B-174577.
Neal M. Masciantonio, with him Paul J. Downey, for petitioner.
John T. Kupchinsky, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish.
[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 418]
James Goodson appeals an Unemployment Compensation Board of Review decision denying benefits on the basis of willful misconduct.*fn1 We reverse.
[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 419]
Employed as a bus driver by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) on January 31, 1979, Goodson was involved in an accident while en route to the depot after his last scheduled stop. On the bus was a fare-paying passenger who, with Goodson's permission, intended to ride to her place of employment, a restaurant at the same depot. Following the accident, Goodson was suspended from his job pending an investigation. On February 6, 1979, he was discharged for "substandard job performance culminated by an accident in which he was extremely negligent and for having an unauthorized passenger on his bus."
After a second hearing on remand, the Board affirmed a referee's decision denying benefits finding that Goodson's "act of transporting an unauthorized passenger in violation of the employer's work rule of which he was aware must be held to constitute willful misconduct in connection with the claimant's work."
We are asked only to decide whether Goodson's solitary act in permitting a fare-paying passenger to remain on the bus after its last scheduled stop, a violation of the employer's known work rule, merits denial of unemployment benefits.*fn2 The record does not reflect such a clear basis for willful misconduct.*fn3
[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 420]
For this Court to properly and thoroughly review an appeal, "the Board must make adequate findings of fact resolving all crucial issues raised by the testimony." Spicer v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 47 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 272, 275, 407 A.2d 929, 931 (1979). The finding by the Board that Goodson knowingly violated the employer's rule is not in and of itself sufficient to always result in a denial of benefits for willful misconduct. See Frumento v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 32 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 462, 379 A.2d 1069 (1977). Though Goodson acknowledges some degree of "illegality" in carrying the passenger to the depot, the record testimony reveals that neither the company representatives nor the company employee benefits specialist were able to specify a governing company regulation.*fn4 Further, even if a specific rule regarding this activity had been cited and the conduct confined to this single act, this Court has consistently held that a single dereliction or infraction does not necessarily constitute willful misconduct. ...