Argued: May 7, 2018
BEFORE: HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge, HONORABLE
MICHAEL H. WOJCIK, Judge, HONORABLE JAMES GARDNER COLINS,
MICHAEL H. WOJCIK, JUDGE
Halloran (Claimant) petitions for review of the June 7, 2017
order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review
(Board) that affirmed a referee's decision and held that
Claimant is ineligible for benefits pursuant to Section
402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law
(Law). We affirm.
was employed as a bus driver for the Beaver County Transit
Authority (Employer) from August 24, 2015, until November 7,
2016. At the relevant time, Claimant was assigned to drive
"route 3, " which runs along Pennsylvania Route 65
(Route 65) from Beaver County into the City of Pittsburgh.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)
closed Route 65 for construction, and, beginning on May 23,
2016, Employer directed route 3 drivers to follow a detour
inbound to Pittsburgh. On October 24, 2016, and October 25,
2016, after a passenger advised Claimant that Route 65 was
reopened, Claimant stopped following the inbound detour.
Employer did not officially lift the detour until October 26,
maintains a progressive discipline policy that requires a
verbal warning, a written warning, a one-day suspension, and
a two-day suspension prior to discharging an employee.
Claimant had previously received a verbal warning and a
written warning, as well as a one-day and two-day suspension.
On November 7, 2016, Employer terminated Claimant's
employment, citing an altercation that occurred on October
21, 2016, and his failure to follow the detour on October
local job center determined that Claimant was not ineligible
for benefits under Section 402(e) of the Law because,
although Employer discharged Claimant for violating a work
rule, it did not present sufficient information to show that
Claimant was aware of or should have been aware of the work
rule. Employer appealed, and the matter was assigned to a
referee. At a January 26, 2017 hearing, Employer participated
with counsel and Claimant proceeded pro se.
Bennett, Employer's operations manager, testified that
her responsibilities include supervising dispatch and all
daily operations, including discipline and discharge. Notes
of Testimony (N.T.) at 3. Bennett stated that Claimant was
given a notice of termination on November 7, 2016, which
stated that Claimant was discharged based on his failure to
follow the posted detour on October 24, 2016, and October 25,
2016, and his involvement in an altercation with the
dispatcher on October 21, 2016, which created a hostile work
stated that she was sitting in dispatch on October 25th when
Claimant came to the window and mentioned to dispatcher
Joseph Honie that Route 65 was now open. Bennett testified
that she, Honie, and another employee were discussing the
need to get clarification. N.T. at 3.
said she learned of Claimant's failure to follow the
posted detour when calls came in asking why drivers were
taking different routes. She followed up on the calls by
replaying GPS data and learned that, for two consecutive
days, Claimant did not follow the detour but instead took
Route 65 into Pittsburgh. She noted that the other drivers
assigned to route 3 had followed the detour. Bennett
testified that she conducted an investigative meeting on
October 31, 2016, which was attended by Claimant, a union
representative, and another employee. She said that Claimant
acknowledged that he did not take the detour, explaining that
passengers had told him Route 65 was open and that the
dispatcher gave him permission to return to his regular
route. More specifically, Claimant stated that he called
dispatch, said he had learned that Route 65 was open, and the
dispatcher responded, "That's what I hear."
N.T. at 5.
testified that the detour for Claimant's route was still
in effect and posted on October 24th and 25th. She explained
that drivers are supposed to take the routes that are posted
on dedicated boards at the entrance to Employer's
facility. She said that the drivers rely on the boards as a
communication tool that notifies them of detours due to
construction and road closures. Bennett stated that, during
orientation, she specifically points out to trainees the
importance of reviewing the board "every single day when
they come in." N.T. at 5. She said that if drivers have
questions or concerns, they go to dispatch for clarification.
Id. Bennett noted that the public also is notified
of detours, through posted notices, information on
Employer's website, and tweets. N.T. at 6. She explained
that, before lifting a detour, Employer has to make up new
notices, take down the old ones, and post the new information
for the public. Id. She added that Employer is
required to report detours and routes to the state for
calculation of "revenue miles." Id.
also testified that Employer's progressive discipline
policy and rules of conduct are included in the bus operator
handbook that Claimant received, and she reviewed
Claimant's disciplinary record. She then related details
about a verbal altercation between Claimant and a coworker on
October 21, 2016, and stated that Claimant would have been
discharged solely as a result of that incident. N.T. at 10-13.
response to questions by Claimant, Bennett testified as
C Did you talk to Joe (inaudible), and did he say that
EW2 I did.
C … radioed him before I left Rochester asking if 65
EW2 That is correct. You said, I hear 65 is open. And Joe
said, that is what I hear. You did not ask permission, and
Joe did not give you permission.
C I would assume …
R Do you have any other ...