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GEORGE ANDERSON v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/01/85)

decided: February 1, 1985.

GEORGE ANDERSON, III, 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 George R. Anderson, III, No. B-219769.

COUNSEL

Mary Beth Seminario, with her, Larry Maggitti, for petitioner.

Richard F. Faux, Associate Counsel, with him, Charles G. Hasson, Acting Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Craig and Doyle and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 321]

Claimant George Anderson has appealed from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, which reversed a referee's decision and denied him benefits after the Main Line Book Company discharged him from his former position as a warehouse helper.

The question is whether his insistence upon taking a day off, in order to attend a job interview for an apprenticeship position elsewhere, was justified by good cause or disqualified him as constituting willful misconduct 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. ยง 802(e).

[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 322]

The referee's findings, adopted by the board and undisputed by the claimant, were: (1) that the claimant, on February 9, 1983, informed his supervisors that the Office of Employment Security had made an appointment for him to apply for an apprentice program with the Sun Oil Company on the following day; (2) that the supervisor refused the day off and warned the claimant that discharge would result if he took it; and (3) that the supervisor discharged the claimant after he stated that he would keep the appointment in his desire to better himself.

The record also shows that the claimant had requested and received time off to pursue an interview for another job during the previous week. The scheduled time of the second interview, the one in question, was midday, at 1:00 p.m.

Whether the facts as found demonstrate willful misconduct -- that is, a disregard of the employer's interest or of standards of behavior which the employer has a right to expect -- is a question of law subject to our review. Lipfert v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 46 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 206, 406 A.2d 251 (1979).

If the circumstances support the existence of good cause for the employee's action, considering the reasonableness of the employer's position and the employee's reason for non-compliance, then what the employee did will not fall within the definition of willful misconduct. Frumento v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 466 Pa. 81, 351 A.2d 631 (1976).

As the claimant's brief correctly notes, several decisions have allowed benefits by concluding that the circumstances showed that an employee had good cause for taking a day off without the employer's permission. Frumento decided that taking a day ...


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