Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Maureen R. Verner, No. B-198394.
Germaine Ingram, for petitioner.
Richard F. Faux, Associate Counsel, with him Richard L. Cole, Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers. Judge MacPhail dissents.
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This is an appeal from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (board) affirming a referee's decision denying the claimant unemployment compensation benefits because she was discharged
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 140]
from her position as a Pennsylvania State Police trooper for willful misconduct.*fn1
The claimant was employed by the Pennsylvania State Police (employer) from October 11, 1979 until her discharge on March 31, 1981. As a new member of the force, the claimant was required to serve a statutorily mandated eighteen month probationary period from the date of hire, during which time she could be dismissed without a showing of good cause and without the procedural safeguards available to enlisted members with at least eighteen months of service. Section 711 of the Administrative Code of 1929, Act of April 9, 1929, P.L. 177, as amended, 71 P.S. § 251. Eleven days before the expiration of the probationary period, the claimant was dismissed. The Pennsylvania State Police gave as its reason for her dismissal "repeated incidents of tardiness" on the claimant's part.
At the referee's hearing, the claimant agreed that she was late for work eight times before her last incident of lateness on January 6, 1981. She testified that on that date she was twenty minutes late for work because she had left her uniform at home and had to return to get it. The record shows that a disciplinary report was submitted as a result of this incident but that no other action was ever taken. The claimant was dismissed more than two and a half months later, on March 31, 1981.
The employer's representative testified to the existence of a State Police Force regulation requiring employees to report for duty on time but he did not have a copy of the regulation with him at the hearing and if the regulation does exist on paper it is not in this record. The employer did introduce a form signed
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 141]
by probationary employees in which they express their understanding that they may be dismissed for violations of rules without ...