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DORA M. TEASLEY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/09/81)

decided: July 9, 1981.

DORA M. TEASLEY, 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 Dora Mae Teasley, No. B-179701.

COUNSEL

Arnold H. Cantor, Cantor and Levine, P.C., for petitioner.

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

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 429]

Dora Mae Teasley (claimant) appeals from an Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision denying benefits to the claimant on the grounds of willful misconduct.

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 430]

The claimant was employed by the Welfare Rights Organization of Pittsburgh (WRO) for approximately twenty-one months as an advocate. She was assigned to the Eastern and Southern Welfare Offices in Pittsburgh. These offices are located in the state office building in Pittsburgh. The claimant's assignment to these offices was permanent, and she was not authorized to change her assignment.

On August 20, 1979 claimant failed to report to either of her assigned offices, but went instead to the North County Office, which is located in a different building, at a separate address. She spent most of the day at the North County Office; as a result, her supervisor was unable to locate her for most of the day. Due to her failure to appear at her assigned offices on the day in question, the claimant was terminated by the executive director of WRO on August 20, 1979.

After being discharged, claimant applied for unemployment compensation benefits. Her application was denied by the Bureau of Employment Security (Bureau)*fn1 under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law,*fn2 which provides that one who is terminated from employment due to willful misconduct is ineligible to receive benefits. Claimant appealed the Bureau's determination to a referee, who affirmed the Bureau after a hearing. The referee's decision was appealed to the Board, which affirmed, and this appeal followed.

A deliberate refusal to comply with an employer's rule ordinarily constitutes willful misconduct; however, whether such violation constitutes willful misconduct disqualifying one from unemployment compensation depends upon whether the rule is reasonable,

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 431]

    and if so, whether the employee had good cause to violate the rule. Frumento v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 466 Pa. 81, 351 A.2d 631 (1976); Holomshek v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 39 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 503, 395 A.2d 708 (1979). The employer has the burden of proving the claimant's willful misconduct. In a rule violation case, this means the employer must prove the rule and the fact of its violation, but if the employee attempts to justify the violation, the ...


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