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PATRICK P. LAURITO v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/16/81)

decided: November 16, 1981.

PATRICK P. LAURITO, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. RICHARD D. SLAVIK, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the State Civil Service Commission in cases of Patrick P. Laurito v. Department of Transportation, No. 2924 and Richard D. Slavik v. Department of Transportation, No. 2925.

COUNSEL

Blair V. Pawlowski, Pawlowski and Tulowitzki, for petitioners.

Louis G. Cocheres, Assistant Counsel, with him Ward T. Williams, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Blatt, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 407]

Patrick P. Laudito and Richard D. Slavik (Petitioners) consolidated their appeals and seek to review two orders of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) which dismissed their appeals from a 10 day and 5 day suspension respectively from their employment.

The Petitioners are both employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Mr. Laurito is a Right-of-Way Administrator II and Mr. Slavik is a Real Estate Appraiser. Both are regular status employees. On the basis of complaints received by PennDOT, the Secretary of Transportation requested an investigation into the Petitioners' adherence or non-adherence to the required work hours. Joseph L. Moran was the special investigator assigned to the case.

From March 26, 1979 to April 13, 1979, and from May 30, 1979 to June 1, 1979, the activities and work habits of the Petitioners were under surveillance. Based on Mr. Moran's findings the Petitioners were

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 408]

    suspended on the charge of taking extended lunch and/or break periods.*fn1 Mr. Laurito was additionally charged with condoning the same behavior on the part of a subordinate (Mr. Slavik), and submitting incorrect information on an expense voucher.*fn2

After a hearing, the Commission found that the Petitioners, on at least five occasions, took extended lunch or break periods at Clark Powell's Restaurant and Tavern*fn3 in Ebensburg, and that such conduct constituted the good cause necessary for their suspensions under Section 803 of the Civil Service Act (Act). Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, as amended, 71 P.S. ยง 741.803.

While the Petitioners disputed some of the times and dates of the alleged infractions, they admitted that there had been occasions when they had stayed beyond the time allotted for lunch or "break" but insisted that these were "working lunches" where they were discussing appraisals and other matters pertinent to their jobs. The Commission did not accept that defense because they found ...


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