Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Carol A. Heal, No. B-186425.
James J. Garrity, Wisler, Pearlstine, Talone, Craig & Garrity, for petitioner.
Karen Durkin, Assistant Attorney General, with her, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and LeRoy Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 333]
Freedom Valley Federal Savings and Loan Association (Employer) appeals from an adverse ruling by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which granted Carol A. Heal (Claimant) unemployment compensation benefits. The Board reversed the decision of the referee which had declared Claimant ineligible for benefits under the provisions of Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(e).
The Board's findings of fact were as follows: Prior to her discharge, Ms. Carol A. Heal had been employed as a manager of loan collections for approximately five years. The Employer had a policy requiring ill employees to notify their supervisor of absenteeism by 9:00 a.m., and to schedule personal or vacation days in advance, with the permission of the supervisor. On March 14, 1980, after travelling almost halfway to work, Claimant called her office to advise
[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 334]
her Employer that she would not be able to make the rest of the trip to work due to treacherous road conditions. Claimant's supervisor called the Claimant back and told her to report to work. Claimant again gave her reasons to the supervisor concerning why she wouldn't report to work. Later that day, Claimant was dismissed for her failure to report to work.
On the basis of its findings of fact, the Board concluded that Claimant informed her supervisor she was unable to report to work that day and explained the reason for her absence. The Board held the Claimant's conduct cannot be considered willful misconduct, and therefore they granted benefits.
However, the referee's pertinent finding was that the Claimant did not inform her Employer of the reason for her absence from work. The referee concluded Claimant violated her Employer's reasonable policy concerning vacations and personal days, and by her disregard of her Employer's instructions to report to work, she placed herself within the disqualifying provisions of Section 402(e) of the Law. The referee reasoned Claimant's disregard of the Employer's policy and specific instructions to report to work were contrary to the best interest of the Employer.
The Employer presents the following two issues on appeal: (1) whether the decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review capriciously disregarded the evidence presented before the referee and (2) whether or not the Claimant's refusal to follow her Employer's directive constitutes willful misconduct.
The Employer had the burden of proving willful misconduct on the part of the Claimant. Where, as here, the employer does not prevail before the Board, our scope of review is limited to questions of law ...