Friday, February 10, 2012

UC - willful misconduct - rule violation

Here's a nice summary of the law on rule violation cases that appears in a recent unpublished decision

“Our Supreme Court defines willful misconduct as behavior that evidences a willful disregard of the employer‟s interest, a deliberate violation of the employer‟s work rules, or a disregard of the standards of behavior that the employer can rightfully expect from its employees.” Ductmate Industries, Inc. v. UCBR, 949 A.2d 338, 341 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008) (citing Caterpillar, Inc. v. UCBR, 550 Pa. 115, 123, 703 A.2d 452, 456 (1997)).

“If the employer alleges willful misconduct because the claimant violated a work rule, the employer must prove both the existence of the rule and its violation.” Caterpillar, 550 Pa. at 123, 703 A.2d at 456.

In determining whether the violation of the work rule constitutes willful misconduct, our Court must “examine whether „the rule or policy is reasonable in light of all the circumstances and if so, whether the employee [had] good cause to violate the rule or policy.‟” Id. (quoting Spirnak v. UCBR, 557 A.2d 451, 453 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1989)).

“Reasonableness is determined by whether the employer‟s application of the rule under the circumstances is fair, just and appropriate to pursue a legitimate interest.” Caterpillar at 123, 703 A.2d at 456-57.