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BRIAN F. PRICE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/16/81)

decided: April 16, 1981.

BRIAN F. PRICE, 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 Brian F. Price, No. B-180598.

COUNSEL

Edwin B. Barnett, Strong, Barnett, Hayes & Hamilton, for petitioner.

Francine Ostrovsky, Assistant Attorney General, with her Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Mencer, Rogers and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Macphail

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 542]

Brian F. Price (Petitioner) has appealed from the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which denied unemployment compensation benefits for willful misconduct pursuant to Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn1

The facts of this case are uncontested. Petitioner was last employed as a maintenance supervisor by

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 543]

H.G.O. (Employer) for a period of 2 1/2 years. One of Petitioner's job duties was to store equipment after use. Under the Employer's rules, all maintenance equipment was to be placed in a storage room overnight for security reasons. It was not to be left on the truck overnight. The Petitioner had been warned several times about violating this rule, the last such warning having occurred just three days prior to July 12, 1979 when the Petitioner again left maintenance equipment on the Employer's truck overnight. He was discharged from his employment on July 13, 1979.

The Petitioner applied to the Bureau (now Office) of Employment Security for benefits. The Office denied benefits on the ground of willful misconduct. He appealed. After a hearing, the referee concluded that the Petitioner had good cause for violating the Employer's rule and granted benefits. The Employer appealed. The Board reviewed the record, found that the Petitioner lacked good cause in failing to secure the equipment in the designated storage area and denied benefits. The Petitioner then appealed to this Court.

The law is well settled in cases of this nature. The Employer bears the burden of proving willful misconduct. Lake v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 48 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 138, 409 A.2d 126 (1979). Where, as in the instant case, the party with the burden of proof prevails before the Board, our scope of review on appeal is to determine whether an error of law has been committed and whether any necessary finding of fact is unsupported by substantial evidence. Lake, supra.

Willful misconduct is a question of law. Boyer v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 51 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 191, 415 A.2d 425 ...


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