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SUSAN C. HELLER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/02/81)

decided: April 2, 1981.

SUSAN C. HELLER, 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 Susan C. Heller, No. B-176609-B.

COUNSEL

Terry L. Fromson, for petitioner.

Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Craig

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 195]

In this unemployment compensation appeal, the claimant*fn1 questions the board's*fn2 denial of compensation and order that she repay benefits, affirming the referee's decision that claimant, a bookkeeper, was ineligible for benefits because she was discharged for willful misconduct.*fn3

Claimant worked for Running Press (employer) from January 9, 1979, until her discharge on May 18 of that year. She received benefits until July 9, 1979, when the bureau determined that her separation was the result of willful misconduct.*fn4

At the hearing before the referee, the employer's office manager, Mr. Dutkiewicz, began by explaining the reasons for claimant's discharge in completely general terms, without dates or details of any kind. His reasons were: "[claimant] undermined my authority"; "[claimant failed] to adhere to basic office procedures and policies . . . such as standard working hours

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 196]

. . . standard lunch hours"; and "malicious and willful misconduct toward Running Press."

He then sought to present a memorandum he had prepared on June 18, 1979, one month after claimant's termination, the same day he had submitted information on her discharge to the Office of employment Security to protest its award of benefits. He briefly summarized the contents of the memorandum, but his testimony did not contain the specifics in the memorandum.

The memorandum consisted or a detailed, dated summary of conversations with, and warnings to, claimant, along with a description of her alleged misconduct. Dutkiewicz admitted that, "as to my memory of the conversations a lot of information furnished on this record are from memory. Ten percent are from the notes" [he made at the time of the conversations].

Although the referee appeared to reject the memo because it was "not under oath," claimant's attorney having raised a ...


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