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ALUMINUM COMPANY AMERICA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/16/81)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: September 16, 1981.

ALUMINUM COMPANY OF AMERICA, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT

Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in cases of In Re: Claims of Bruce D. Weaver, No. B-176190; Ronald L. McFeaters, No. B-176191; Dale N. Hetrick, No. B-176192; Robert A. Henry, No. B-176193; Charles B. Reilly, Jr., No. B-176194; Lee W. Reddinger, Jr., No. B-176195; Allen A. Angley, No. B-176196; Richard A. Wolfe, No. B-176197; Roger D. May, No. B-176198; Ronald D. Smith, No. B-176199; George D. Good, No. B-176200; and Herman Zerbe, No. B-176201.

COUNSEL

J. Anthony Messina, with him Kenneth L. Oliver, and Rebecca J. Clement, Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, and Russell W. Porter, Jr., for petitioner.

William Kennedy, Assistant Attorney General, with him James Bradley, Assistant Attorney General, 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 President Judge Crumlish.

Author: Crumlish

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 599]

Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) appeals 12 decisions of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review granting benefits to claimants in holding that the employees did not engage in willful misconduct.*fn1 We affirm.

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 600]

The claimants were packers and helpers in the pack/ship department. On July 20, 1978, they were dismissed for alleged participation in a work slowdown, a violation of a labor-management agreement.*fn2

ALCOA's evidence showed reduced productivity and a uniform refusal of voluntary overtime by all members of that department. ALCOA also maintains that acts of vandalism occurred during the slowdown and were attributable to members of the department though no specific incident and employee was ever connected. It contends that the evidence presented, coupled with the three criteria for dismissal, conclusively establishes the existence of a deliberate production slowdown by the claimants. We disagree. Although evidence clearly shows a reduction in department productivity, proof of a department-wide slowdown of itself is not enough to prove actual participation on the part of a select group of employees. We cannot infer from ALCOA's test for dismissal that these individual employees participated in a slowdown absent specific evidence on the part of these individuals.

In addition, ALCOA argues that both a refusal of voluntary overtime and vandalism constitute willful misconduct in and of themselves. We cannot sanction that refusal of voluntary overtime is willful misconduct, especially when coupled with legitimate reasons for refusal. The allegations of vandalism must fail for lack of specificity. There is no evidence tying anyone to acts of vandalism.

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 601]

After a thorough review of the record, we find the Board's order, conclusions of law and findings of fact to be consistent and sustainable without a capricious disregard of competent evidence. See Swiegart v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 47 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 421, 408 A.2d 561 (1979).

Affirmed.

Order

The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review orders at B-176190, B-176191, B-176192, B-176193, B-176194, B-176195, B-176196, B-176197, B-176198, B-176199, B-176200 and B-176201, each dated September 28, 1979, and granting unemployment compensation benefits to Bruce D. Weaver, Ronald L. McFeaters, Dale N. Hetrick, Robert A. Henry, Charles B. Reilly, Jr., Lee W. Reddinger, Jr., Allen A. Angley, Richard A. Wolfe, Jr., Roger D. May, Ronald G. Smith, George D. Good and Herman Zerbe, respectively, are affirmed.

Date: September 16, 1981.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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