Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of John F. Connelly, Jr., No. B-193366.
Richard L. Raymond, Schroeder, Jenkins & Raymond, for petitioner.
Joel G. Cavicchia, Associate Counsel, with him Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
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John F. Connelly, Jr. (claimant) asserts that he should not have been denied benefits by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which found that his unemployment was due to his own willful misconduct.*fn1
The claimant was last employed by the Atlantic Richfield Company (employer) as a control room operator and was required to monitor and control
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the temperature, flow, and pressure of furnace oil and gasoline. Any neglect or error in the performance of such duties could have caused explosions or fires and could also have endangered the safety of other employees. On the claimant's last day of work, when he allegedly misused a company radio, he was given a direct order by his immediate supervisor to report to the employer's dispensary to see the doctor. He refused to report as instructed. About one hour later his unit manager gave the same directive, which he similarly refused. When the labor relations representative of the employer became aware that the claimant still had not reported to the dispensary, he repeated the order to the claimant and once more the claimant refused. He was then suspended and later discharged.
It is well-settled that an employer bears the burden*fn2 of establishing willful misconduct and that, where such misconduct involves insubordination or the refusal to obey an employer's directive, the employee bears the burden of proving good cause*fn3 for his refusal. "Good cause" has been described as requiring a "balanc[ing of] the reasonableness of the supervisor's directive against the reasonableness of [the claimant's] refusal." Patterson v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 60 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 53, 57, 430 A.2d 1011, 1014 (1981).
The claimant argues that his actions here did not constitute willful misconduct and that the findings
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of the Board are not supported by substantial evidence because the employer's sole witness admittedly had no personal ...