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JEAN D. CLARK v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/20/85)

decided: August 20, 1985.

JEAN D. CLARK, 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 Jean D. Clark, No. B-187391-G.

COUNSEL

Andrew F. Erba, for petitioner.

Charles G. Hasson, Acting Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Craig and Colins, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 234]

Jean Clark appeals an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review which affirmed a referee's denial of benefits based on its conclusion that Clark was not "unemployed through no fault of [her] own" under Section 3 of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1 Although section 3 is a declaration of public policy, the courts have given it substantive effect by interpreting it as providing an independent basis for denial of benefits. Miles v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 86 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 186, 484 A.2d 418 (1984).

The City of Philadelphia's Office of Housing and Community Development (O.H.C.D.) discharged the claimant from her job as a Community Worker I because she had been convicted of two counts of perjury before a grand jury investigating corruption in a City

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 235]

    of Philadelphia program for which the claimant had previously worked. We must determine*fn2 whether substantial evidence supports the board's findings and conclusion that those criminal convictions were so incompatible with Clark's responsibilities as a community worker as to render her unemployment attributable to her own fault.

This case has been through numerous appeals, remands, and rehearings, including an earlier appearance before this court in Clark v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 80 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 513, 471 A.2d 1309 (1984). (Clark I). At that juncture, the court reviewed the board's denial of benefits under Section 3, and noted that, according to Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Derk, 24 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 54, 353 A.2d 915 (1976), a criminal arrest is not, per se, sufficient grounds for a denial of benefits based on section 3. Rather, "[t]he employer must present some evidence showing conduct of the claimant leading to the criminal arrest which is inconsistent with acceptable standards of behavior and which directly reflect upon his ability to perform his assigned duties." Id. at 57, 353 A.2d at 917.

In Clark I, the court reviewed the board's decision which included a finding that the claimant had been convicted of perjury, but no finding regarding the nature of the claimant's assigned duties in her position as community worker. Without such a finding, we could not apply the legal standard articulated in Derk, and we therefore remanded to the board with specific instructions to make an appropriate finding regarding

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 236]

    the nature of the claimant's work, and to determine her eligibility for ...


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