Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, in the case of In Re: Claim of Edward C. Brady, No. B-251996.
Mark T. Silliker, for petitioner.
Jonathan Zorach, Assistant Counsel, with him, Clifford F. Blaze, Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges MacPhail and Barry, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 222]
Edward Brady (claimant) appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming the decision of the referee which affirmed a determination of the Office of Employment Security (OES) that claimant was ineligible for benefits under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.
Claimant, who had served in the Vietnam War, was last employed by Hershey Foods as a six-foot pan operator. His last day of work was March 18, 1986. He was discharged for assaulting a co-worker, a Vietnamese native
[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 223]
who worked on the shift immediately prior to his. This individual did not initiate the altercation and did nothing to provoke the claimant's assault upon him.
Claimant filed for unemployment compensation benefits effective March 16, 1986. The OES, acting upon this application, denied claimant benefits based on its determination that claimant had engaged in willful misconduct. Claimant appealed from this determination and a hearing was held before a referee. Thereafter, the referee issued a decision affirming the OES and denying benefits to the claimant. Claimant then filed a timely appeal from that decision to the Board, which issued an order affirming the decision of the referee. This appeal followed.
Our scope of review in this matter is limited to determining whether constitutional rights have been violated, an error of law has been committed, and necessary findings of fact are supported by substantial competent evidence on the record. Estate of McGovern v. State Employees' Retirement Board, 512 Pa. 377, 517 A.2d 523 (1986). Claimant contends that the employer failed to meet his burden of proving that he had engaged in willful misconduct. It is also contended that this matter must be remanded due to the Board's failure to make findings of fact relevant to the issue of whether claimant had good cause for his action.
[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 224]
In proceedings resulting in denial of benefits for willful misconduct, employer has the burden of proving the willful misconduct which renders the claimant ineligible for benefits. Brant v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 83 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 373, 477 A.2d 596 (1984). Once a prima facie case of willful misconduct is set forth, however, the burden of proof shifts to the employee to prove that, under the facts of the particular case, his conduct does not constitute willful ...