UC - rule violation; sec. 3, - criminal conviction
Section 3 can operate to disqualify claimants on the basis of off-duty, non-job related misconduct. Claimants can be found ineligible only if their behavior “(1) is inconsistent with acceptable standards of behavior, and (2) directly reflects upon his or her ability to perform the assigned duties.” Martin v. UCBR, 713 A.2d 753, 754 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1998) [citing UCBR v. Derk, 353 A.2d 915, 917 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1976)].
A criminal conviction is considered conclusive proof of the facts charged, and often is sufficient to prove the first prong of this test, Hawkins v. UCBR, 695 A.2d 963 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1997), but in evaluating the second prong, a number of factors must be considered, including: (a) the specific nature of the offense committed by Claimant; (b) the nature of Claimant's assigned duties; (c) whether Claimant's job requires any special degree of trust on the part of the employer; and (d) any other circumstances which may particularly affect Claimant's ability to do his job, including whether the crime occurred on or off Employer's premises, and whether or not it involved any of Employer's other workers or clients. SEPTA v. UCBR, 506 A.2d 974, 977 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1986).
In this case, the claimant plea of nolo contendere to the charge of endangering the welfare of a child is sufficient to prove the first prong, but UPMC offered no evidence which would satisfy the second prong by showing that the conviction directly reflects upon claimant’s ability to perform his assigned duties. In the record, there is scant evidence of the conduct underlying the conviction, no evidence whatsoever of claimant's duties or the degree of trust placed in him by his employer, and no reasons offered why the conviction would affect Green’s ability to do his job.
The Board’s finding that claimant’s conviction directly reflects upon his ability to perform his assigned duties is not supported by substantial evidence. The Board, therefore, erred in finding claimant ineligible under Section 3 of the Law.