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GABRIEL WHITE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/28/87)

decided: October 28, 1987.

GABRIEL WHITE, JR., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission, in case of Gabriel White, Jr. v. State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Department of Corrections, Appeal No. 6403.

COUNSEL

Theodore M. Lieverman, Of Counsel: Allan Kanner & Associates, for petitioner.

David B. Farney, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Craig and MacPhail, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 497]

This is an appeal by Gabriel White (Petitioner) from an order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) which upheld the one-day suspension of Petitioner from his position as a Corrections Officer I, Regular Status.

Petitioner is employed by the State Correctional Institution at Graterford (Appointing Authority), a maximum security correctional institution. He was suspended from his duties for one day on a charge of unacceptable attendance. The Commission specifically found that in the period from September 20, 1984

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 498]

    through February 27, 1986 Petitioner, who had previously been disciplined for unacceptable attendance, was absent from work on sick leave on eleven occasions and tardy on four occasions. Based upon these findings the Commission upheld the one-day suspension.

Petitioner appeals to this Court and alleges that the Commission erred in upholding the suspension when the eleven days of sick leave were for bona fide illnesses. He further asserts that the Commission erred in upholding the discipline in the absence of clearly defined guidelines and that the decision was not supported by substantial evidence.

Our scope of review of a Commission order is limited to determining whether there has been a constitutional violation or an error of law and whether the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 704; see also Estate of McGovern v. State Employees' Retirement Board, 512 Pa. 377, 517 A.2d 523 (1986). In the suspension of a regular status employee the Appointing Authority bears the burden of proving good cause for its adverse personnel action. 4 Pa. Code § 105.15; Section 803 of the Civil Service Act, Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, as amended, 71 P.S. § 741.803.

Good cause has been defined to mean that any personnel action must be scrutinized in the light of such merit criteria as whether the employee has failed to execute his or her duties properly and whether he or she has done an act which hampers same; the criteria must be job-related and touch in some logical manner upon competency and ability to do the job. McCain v. East Stroudsburg State College, 71 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 165, 454 A.2d 667 (1983). The Commission, in ...


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