Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In re: Claim of Craig R. Price, No. 221129.
Lee David Moses, for petitioner.
Richard F. Faux, Associate Counsel, with him, Charles G. Hasson, Acting Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Craig, Palladino and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 111]
Craig Price, Claimant, appeals from a referee's decision denying him unemployment compensation benefits under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(e) (willful misconduct). The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirmed the referee's determination.
Claimant worked as a machine operator for Mac Plastics, Inc. (Employer) from April, 1980 through April 23, 1983. Claimant was scheduled to work on April 24, 1983, but was unable to get to his Employer's facility because his own vehicle was inoperative. Claimant had made arrangements to ride to work with a fellow employee but learned shortly before Claimant was to report for work, that the co-worker was ill and
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 112]
could not give Claimant a lift to work. Claimant promptly notified his Employer that he could not come into work that day. The Employer did not inform Claimant of any consequences of his not coming to work; nevertheless, Claimant was discharged the following day.
The Employer never appeared at the referee's hearing nor was any testimony offered in its behalf.*fn1 The referee found that Claimant had been warned previously regarding his attendance at work but there is testimony in the record which supports Claimant's assertion that he had good cause for his previous absences.*fn2 In his decision, the referee states that: "Claimant, however, does not appear to have made an
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 113]
adequate effort to obtain alternate transportation. . . ." We disagree. Claimant's efforts to obtain transportation to work were reasonable, especially in light of the fact that there was no public transportation available.*fn3
Although a finding of willful misconduct may be properly made when the finding is based solely on the claimant's own testimony,*fn4 we believe that the referee erred in concluding that the Employer in the case at bar carried his burden of proof. Indeed, we note the factual similarity between the instant appeal and that in Adept Corporation v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 62 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 566, 437 A.2d 109 (1981). The claimant in Adept had acquired a history of absenteeism which culminated one day when the claimant was unable to get to work because of automobile trouble. He notified his employer who did not inform him that his job was in jeopardy if he did not come ...