Thursday, September 11, 2008

UC- willful misconduct - mental illness - evidence

Seneca Valley School District v. UCBR - Commonwealth Court - September 9, 2008 - UNREPORTED MEMORANDUM OPINION

Teacher established good cause for her conduct. There was substantial evidence--the required expert medical evidence, Dept. of Navy v. UCBR, 632 A.2d 622 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1993), from the employer's own witness--to support its finding that claimant's behavior was excused because it was caused by mental illness.

That evidence showed that claimant's conduct was caused by a brief psychotic episode from which she had recovered, and that she was presently able to work.

The employer's claim that its own witness's testimony about its own psychiatrist's findings was hearsay was rejected. The court held that it came under the "admission against interest" exception, a voluntary acknowledgment by a party of the truth of facts which are inconsistent with the party's claim in an action. Such evidence has a "high evidentiary value" and is accepted on the assumption that a witness would not say anything against his interest unless it were true.

UC - voluntary quit - conscious intention

Subway List, Inc. v. UCBR - Commonwealth Court - September 5, 2008 - unreported memorandum opinion

Held that totality of circumstances, the claimant did not show the required "conscious intention to voluntarily quit her job," even when she failed to complete a questionnaire by the time specified by her employer, June 30th.

She was out on a medical leave and did send the employer a letter, received on July 1st, saying that she would respond more precisely after an upcoming checkup. Her "inability to predict the circumstances regarding her return to work did not demonstrate an intention to quit"

Nor were her actions willful misconduct. "The letters that Claimant sent served the same purpose of advising employer of her intentions....Claimant reasonably attempted to comply with employer's request and...her actions did not constitute willful misconduct."