Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Ronald E. Drobek, No. B-206901.
Charles D. Donahue, Associate Counsel, with him Charles Hasson, Associate Counsel, and Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.
John Havas, Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, for petitioner.
Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 540]
This is an appeal by Hanover Industrial Machine Company (Hanover) from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which reversed a referee's decision denying benefits to Ronald E. Drobek (Claimant) on the basis of willful misconduct
[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 541]
pursuant to 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).
Claimant began working for Hanover on October 27, 1980, as a maintenance man responsible for the repair and maintenance of machinery. On August 31, 1981, Hanover terminated Drobek's employment by letter which recited the following reasons for termination: unsatisfactory job performance with regard to inconsistency in carrying out work assignment, leaving assigned work area and interfering with others at work, and using Company equipment on Company time for personal use.
Claimant appealed Hanover's determination that he had been terminated for willful misconduct, and a hearing was held on November 19, 1981, before Referee M. Evelyn Stehman. Evidence presented at the hearing indicated that Claimant's work performance was marginal at best and Claimant had been counseled and warned by Hanover representatives about poor work habits including disruptive conversations with other employees and wandering away from his work tasks. Claimant had been denied a scheduled "step" pay raise due to his alleged disruptive habits.
On August 28, 1981, the Friday before his termination, Claimant's supervisor testified that he saw Claimant with a rubber covered boat chain which Claimant advised he wished to cut. At 4:15, while on overtime, the supervisor saw that the chain had been cut, while at 3:30 it was uncut. Thus, the supervisor deduced that Claimant had cut the chain while he was being paid a premium, overtime pay rate. The supervisor later learned that Claimant's co-worker had cut the chain assuming it was a company project. While the actual cutting probably took only three minutes,
[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 542]
the supervisor testified that he felt the entire scenario took much longer, and felt this incident was "a final display of complete disregard" for Hanover's interests resulting in Claimant's ...