Thursday, April 03, 2014

UC - willful misconduct - absenteeism - final absence - good cause

Howard Hanna Holdings, Inc. v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court – April 3, 2014 – unreported memorandum opinion

An employer has the right to expect that its employees will attend work when they are scheduled, that they will be on time, and that they will not leave work early without permission. Fritz v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 446 A.2d 330, 333 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1980). As a result, excessive absenteeism and tardiness may constitute willful misconduct as a disregard of the standards that an employer has a right to expect of its employees. Id.; American Process Lettering, Inc. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 412 A.2d 1123, 1125 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1980); Crilly v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 397 A.2d 40, 41 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1979).

Although an advance warning is not a precondition or prerequisite to support a discharge for willful misconduct, a prior warning is relevant in that it reflects the employee’s attitude toward his employment and adds to the willfulness of the misconduct. American Process Lettering, Inc., 412 A.2d at 1125-26.

However, even where a history of absenteeism is present, a claimant is entitled to receive compensation benefits where the final absence which precipitated his or her discharge was based on good cause. See Tritex Sportswear, Inc. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 315 A.2d 322, 324 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1980). But cf. Grand Sport Auto Body, 55 A.3d at 192-94 (holding that a claimant’s extensive absenteeism and history of tardiness constituted willful misconduct even if the claimant’s final absence before discharge was justified).

In this case, the court found that all of claimant's absences, including the last one, were for good cause.


The opinion, though not reported, may be cited "for its persuasive value, but not as binding precedent." 210 Pa. Code § 67.55. Citing Judicial Opinions.