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THOMAS J. HOUSER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/19/81)

decided: March 19, 1981.

THOMAS J. HOUSER, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Thomas J. Houser, No. B-177232.

COUNSEL

David S. Kluxen, Jr., Allison & Pyfer, for petitioner.

Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 20]

This is an appeal from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision denying the claimant unemployment compensation benefits for willful misconduct under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1

Claimant, Thomas J. Houser, was last employed as an associate professor and director of computer services at Millersville State College. In 1978, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, acting through Millersville and Kutztown State Colleges, entered into an agreement with the Univac Division of the Sperry Rand Corporation (Univac Division) for the purchase of a "90/60" computer system to be installed at Millersville State College. Subsequent to the execution of the contract, claimant became involved in a series of affairs with respect to the computer which culminated in the termination of his employment. The incident which precipitated this chain of events was claimant's entrance into an agreement with a representative of Univac division for the shipment of a "90/70" computer system, a costlier and more sophisticated machine than that specified in the executed contract.

Believing that claimant had obtained the proper administrative clearance to negotiate such a change, Univac Division shipped and installed a "90/70" system which, in all outward appearances is identical to a "90/60" system. Upon receiving the upgraded unit, claimant directed the Univac Division representative to

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 21]

    fasten a "90/60" nameplate to the front of the machine. Claimant then told his subordinates that a "90/70" system was being installed, but instructed them to refer to it as a "90/60" system.

Sometime after the computer system had been installed, the president of Millersville State College received an anonymous report informing him of the existence of the "90/70" system on his college's premises. The college president spoke to claimant concerning this matter and claimant indicated that the machine which had been delivered to him was a "90/60" system. It was not until Univac Division was contacted that the information provided by the anonymous report was confirmed.

After this series of events, claimant was suspended, with pay, from his job. Shortly thereafter, the claimant was discharged. Following his separation from employment, claimant filed an application for unemployment compensation. The Bureau of Employment Security issued a determination holding claimant eligible for benefits under Sections 401(d)*fn2 and 402(e) of the Law. The college appealed this determination and a referee's hearing was scheduled. Much testimony was received at that hearing, following which the referee decided to reverse the Bureau's determination. The referee held that claimant was ineligible for benefits by force of Section 402(e) of the Law. The issue of claimant's eligibility under Section 401(d) of the Law was never addressed. Subsequent to the issuance of the referee's decision, claimant filed a Petition for Further Appeal to the Board. The Board ...


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