Wednesday, September 01, 2010

UC - willful misconduct - bad language - provoked or de minimis

Triplie v. UCBR - Cmwlth Court - Sept. 1, 2010 - unreported memorandum opinion

This is an unreported case but the court gave a useful summary of the law on this issue:

This Court has held that abusive, vulgar, or offensive language addressed to a supervisor may support a finding of willful misconduct, so long as it is not provoked or de minimis.4 Allen v. UCBR, 638 A.2d 448, 451 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1994). Even a single instance of vulgarity directed to, and unprovoked by, a supervisor is sufficient for a finding of willful misconduct. Losch v. UCBR, 461 A.2d 344, 345 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1983). Furthermore, insubordination in general may constitute willful misconduct. Losch, 461 A.2d at 345.

4 See, e.g., Blount v. UCBR, 466 A.2d 771 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1983) (holding that threat by claimant found to be off-hand utterance in nature of joke was not willful misconduct); Luketic v. UCBR, 386 A.2d 1045 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1974) (finding justified and not to be willful misconduct claimant’s statement that employer was being less than honest); Horace W. Longacre, Inc. v. UCBR, 316 A.2d 110 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1974) (holding allegedly offensive remark by claimant to be provoked and de minimis).