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KATHLEEN JONES v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/30/82)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: July 30, 1982.

KATHLEEN JONES, 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 Kathleen Jones, No. B-182084-A.

COUNSEL

Andrew F. Erba, for petitioner.

Francine Ostrovsky, Associate Counsel, with her Steven J. Neary, Associate Counsel, and Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 98]

Kathleen Jones appeals an Unemployment Compensation Board of Review order which denied her benefits. We affirm.

Jones, a Keystone AAA employee, engaged in an altercation with a co-worker. While they were arguing,

[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 99]

    a customer telephoned the co-worker and Jones twice placed the customer on hold so that she could continue the argument. She was discharged for interfering with the co-worker.

Our scope of review where the party with the burden of proof*fn1 has prevailed below is limited to determining whether the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. Maxwell v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 54 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 604, 423 A.3d 430 (1980).

The Board denied Jones' benefits, concluding that her conduct amounted to willful misconduct thus precluding her from receiving benefits under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn2 Although willful misconduct is not defined in the Law, our Court has stated that willful misconduct consists of:

[T]he wanton and willful disregard of an employer's interest, a deliberate violation of rules, a disregard of expected behavior standards or negligence manifesting culpability, wrongful intent, evil design or intentional and substantial disregard of the employer's interests or the employe's duties and obligations.

[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 100]

Serban v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 29 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 147, 150, 370 A.2d 755, 756 (1977). Additionally, this Court has concluded that "a single act may constitute willful misconduct."*fn3 Affalter v. Unemployment Compensation Page 100} Board of Review, 40 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 482, 485, 397 A.2d 863, 865 (1979). Here we are convinced that this single act constituted a standard of behavior inimical to the employer's interests.

The claimant shoulders the burden to show that an act of willful misconduct was justified. Holomshek v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 39 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 503, 395 A.2d 708 (1979). Here, Jones has offered as her justification her attempt to reach an understanding with her co-worker in a Christian-like spirit.*fn4 Praiseworthy as her proclaimed intention may be, we find the Board's pointed rejection of this contention to be persuasive.

The claimant has not demonstrated any good reason why she was unable to wait to speak to the co-worker until after the co-worker had finished her business conversation. The claimant's conduct demonstrated a disregard of the standards of behavior which her employer had the right to expect of her.

As to Jones' claim that there is not substantial evidence in the record to support the Board's denial of benefits, we disagree. The claimant herself admitted to the altercation, and the Board, in its province as fact finder, Remaly v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 55 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 551, 423 A.2d 814 (1980), resolved the issue of credibility in the employer's favor.

[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 101]

Affirmed.*fn5

Order

The order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B-182084-A dated May 20, 1980, is affirmed.

Judge Mencer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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