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ALBERT HAWKINS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/22/84)

decided: March 22, 1984.

ALBERT HAWKINS, 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 Albert Hawkins, No. B-197949.

COUNSEL

Lenore M. Urbano, for petitioner.

James K. Bradley, Associate Counsel, with him Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. Judge Rogers dissents.

Author: Williams

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 115]

Albert Hawkins (claimant) appeals from the decision and order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review denying his claim for benefits pursuant

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 116]

    to Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1

The findings of fact entered by the Board reflect the following factual scenario. The claimant was employed as a machine operator by TRW Valve Division (employer) for four years. The entire plant was shut down on December 19, 1980, and reopened on January 5, 1981. During the plant shutdown, on December 24, 1980, the claimant was arrested and incarcerated in connection with an incident unrelated to his job. When by January 5, 1981, he had not yet made bail, the claimant had his fiancee's mother telephone the employer to request a personal leave of absence. The request was made to the employer, but was denied on the ground that the company personnel policy required that there be prior approval for leaves of absence. The personnel policy also made unauthorized absence for three consecutive days an offense punishable by dismissal. The claimant was released on bond on March 5, 1981. Upon his release, he telephoned his employer and was notified that his employment had been terminated on January 8, 1981 due to violation of the company's attendance policies.

On the foregoing facts, the Board concluded that the claimant engaged in willful misconduct and was disqualified for benefits. Specifically, the Board reasoned that "[w]hile the claimant's absence was reported to the employer, the reason for such absence was not consistent with good cause, and the employer had a justifiable reason for refusing such request [for a leave]." We reverse.

Our scope of review in a case such as this is well-defined: we are limited to determining whether the

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 117]

    factual findings on which the Board's decision is based are supported by substantial evidence, and whether there has been an error of law or showing of fraud. Lake v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 48 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 138, 409 A.2d 126 (1979). Upon reviewing the record, we find no reason to disturb the Board's factual findings. However, we fail to find ...


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