Tuesday, December 30, 2014

UC - willful misconduct - sarcastic comments

Scott v. UCBR – Pa. Cmwlth. December 12, 2014

An employee's sarcastic comments about a supervisor did not violate a work rule against insubordination where

            a) the comments were made in a private writing to senior management, and not directed to the supervisor himself

            b)  the claimant's comments were sarcastic and not "insubordinate" – as defined in the dictionary

            c) claimant's comments concerned the supervisor's decisions concerning a behavior plan for a group home resident with serious mental health problems

" Insubordination may be found where an employee speaks to a superior in an abusive, vulgar or offensive way. The actual language used by Claimant does not meet any of those descriptions. Claimant’s two statements were sarcastic,  but they were not directed to his supervisor. For an employer to forbid sarcasm in the workplace under any circumstances, there must be an explicit rule. In itself, the use of sarcasm cannot be equated to insubordination or any other kind of willful misconduct."
If the case is not recent, the link in this posting may not work.  In that case, search for the case by name and date on Westlaw, Lexis, Google Scholar, or the court website http://www.pacourts.us/courts/supreme-court/court-opinions/