Thursday, June 23, 2011

UC - willful misconduct - absenteeism

Abdellah v. UCBR - Cmwlth. Court - June 23, 2011

Absenteeism, alone, β€œis not a sufficient basis for denial of unemployment benefits,” even though it may constitute grounds for discharge. Runkle v. UCBR, 521 A.2d 530, 531 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1987).

In order for absenteeism to constitute willful misconduct, an additional element is necessary. Id. Factors that are considered in leading to a showing of absenteeism constituting willful misconduct are: β€œ(1) [e]x-cessive absences, (2) [f]ailure to notify the employer in advance of the absence, (3) [l]ack of good or adequate cause for the absence, (4) [d]isobedience of existing company rules, regulations, or policy with regard to absenteeism, [and] (5) [d]isregard of warnings regarding absenteeism.” Petty v. UCBR, 325 A.2d 642, 643 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1974).

When an employer fires a claimant for a pattern of absenteeism, the claimant will be eligible for benefits if the final absence was justified. See, e.g., Runkle, 521 A.2d at 531 (holding claimant eligible for benefits because there was substantial evidence to show claimant was ill on her last absences); Haigler v. Commonwealth, 462 A.2d 954, 955 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1982) (holding claimant ineligible for benefits because he failed to justify his last absence).