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PACKAGING CONTROL CORPORATION v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/04/84)

decided: June 4, 1984.

PACKAGING CONTROL CORPORATION, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Mary A. Oberdorff, No. B-207203.

COUNSEL

Eugene R. Campbell, Smith, LeCates & Campbell, for petitioner.

Richard F. Faux, Associate Counsel, with him, Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Williams, Jr., Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 34]

The Packaging Control Corporation (employer) seeks review of an order by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which reversed a referee's decision which denied benefits to Mary A. Oberdorff (claimant).

Employer last employed claimant as a die cutter foreman. A number of employees complained that some employees discussed their wages. This discussion, according to the employer, caused dissension and

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 35]

    discord. In August or September of 1981, employer met with all the employees and asked them to refrain from discussing their salaries and benefits. The employer thereafter told the claimant on numerous occasions not to discuss her wages with the other employees. Claimant had an excellent work record and had received more pay increases than the other employees.

Claimant allegedly had complained to other employees about her wages and had asked another co-employee what his salary was. On one occasion claimant allegedly threw her check on to the lunchroom table and said it was not worth cashing. The Board, moreover, found that the claimant did not divulge the amount of her paycheck or discuss her rate of pay with a co-worker. Employer alleged that on her last day of work, claimant discussed with a co-employee her dissatisfaction with her job and salary. Thereafter employer discharged the claimant for alleged noncompliance with the employer's request.

Following a hearing in which only the employer presented witnesses, the referee determined that the claimant's conduct constituted a disregard of the standard of behavior the employer has a right to expect of an employee. The referee, therefore, concluded that the claimant was ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits because her actions constituted willful misconduct. The Board, however, reversed because the employer failed to produce any competent first-hand testimony to sustain its burden of proving willful misconduct. It, therefore, concluded that the claimant was eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. The employer appealed this decision.

Where the party with the burden of proof did not prevail below, our scope of review ...


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